The Builder Magazine
February 1921 - Volume VII - Number 2
MEMORIALS TO GREAT MEN WHO WERE MASONS
GENERAL LEWIS CASS
BY BRO. GEO. W. BAIRD, P.G.M., DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
LEWIS CASS, the first Grand Master of Masons in Michigan, was bom in New
Hampshire in 1782 and died in Detroit in 1866. He was the son of a General Officer in the
Revolutionary Army. Early in life he took up the duties of a schoolmaster - fortunately for
him, for if there is anything which gives to a man an understanding of a subject, it is the
attempt to teach it. The family moved to Ohio, where Lewis studied law, and in 1 802 was
admitted to the bar. He married in 1 806 and soon thereafter was elected to the legislature.
He drew up the address to Jefferson, embodying the views of the legislature on Aaron
Burr's expedition, and drafted the law under which Rurr's boats and provisions, built and
collected in Ohio, were seized.
In the War of 1812 Cass was a Colonel in the Ohio Volunteers under General Hull. He
was promoted to be a Brigadier General, and at the end of the War was appointed
Governor of what is now the State of Michigan, and in that capacity was Superintendent of
Indian Affairs. During his term of eighteen years in this office he negotiated twenty-two
treaties, securing, by concession of the Indian tribes, immense tracts of land in the
Northwest; instituted surveys, constructed roads, built forts and organized counties and
In the year 1815 he purchased, for $12,000, a homestead tract of five hundred acres in
Detroit, which the subsequent growth of the city made valuable. He explored the upper
lakes and the headwaters of the Mississippi, the report of his explorations having been
published in the North American Review for 1828-9.
Cass was Secretary of War under President Jackson in 1831, and was Minister to France in
The most remarkable incident of his diplomatic career was his attack on the quintuple
treaty for the suppression of the slave trade, which led to his resignation, in 1842.
He was elected United States Senator in 1845, an in 1846 was Democratic nominee for
President. He was reelected to the Senate in 1 849, the year of the “gold fever” in
California. Though instructed by the legislature of Michigan to vote for the “Wilmot
proviso” he vigorously opposed it, which shows his independence and fealty to the
commonwealth in lieu of his State. In 1850 he was made a member of Clay's compromise
treaty, but did not vote for the fugitive slave bill. At the Baltimore Convention in 1 852 he
was a candidate for the Presidential nomination, but was not successful in securing the
In 1 854 he voted for the Douglas Kansas-Nebraska bill proposing the repeal of the
Missouri compromise, but which included a provision embodying Cass's suggestion in the
famous Nicholson letter to leave to the inhabitants of the territories the power to regulate
their own institutions, subject only to the constitution. Subsequently he declined to obey
the wish of the State legislature as to his vote on the Kansas question.
Cass was Secretary of State in Buchanan's administration, during the most trying period of
Men thought that their first fealty was to their State, this sentiment having come down
from the time of the Colonies; the National constitution was silent on the privilege of a
State's secession. Cass was a democrat, in the dictionary sense of the word: his fealty was
to the commonwealth, while most of the other of the cabinet officers, particularly Mr.
Davis and Mr. Cobb, thought differently. The writer was living in Washington at the time
and, while under age, was cognizant of much that transpired in the executive departments.
The President believed the war was a flurry, or a bluff, and even after Fort Sumter was
fired upon we all thought the war would not last three months. Mr. Cass had urged upon
the President to reinforce Fort Sumter, but the latter could not conceive of the gravity of
the situation. He was naturally fond of Mr. Davis, the Secretary of War, over whose desk
such an order must pass, and in the President's hesitancy Mr. Cass resigned. It was a pity.
It was lack of vision on the part of the President. He may have been misled by the
unconcealed apathy of his secession surroundings in breaking with the government, but he
When fighting begins personal friendships and old associations are forgotten. The writer
heard Mr. Capers (in Charleston) tell of that first shot. It was aimed at the Star of the West,
as she entered the Harbor of Charleston to reinforce Sumter. Capers, who was a member
of Colonel Stevens' battery, says that Stevens, apparently choking with emotion, looking
upon the old flag at the peak of the Star of the West said: “Boys, it almost breaks my heart,
but, Number One, fire!” and that was the first shot of the war. Then Senator Wigfall, of
Texas, (who had never hear the screech of an angry shot), said, on the floor of the Senate,
“You sent the Star of the West into Charleston Harbor; we fired on her, and you dare not
resent it !”
The beautiful memorial to General Cass, shown in the frontispiece, is an enduring tribute
to one of the bravest, wisest, far-seeing men the Nation ever produced. The monument is
the pride of Detroit.
WOMAN AND FREEMASONRY
THE BUILDER FEBRUARY 1921
Wise men tell us that there never has been a woman Freemason. Perhaps that is true.
This question has been called to the attention of the able scholar and devoted Mason who
contributes this series of articles. Can Freemasonry enlarge its borders to include women
or must they forever remain outside the pale? If they are to be made Masons in literal
truth in what way can we reorganize the ritual so as to eliminate certain features which
might prove embarrassing to them? If they cannot be admitted into full membership in
what way can the spirit and teachings of this ancient Fraternity be made available to
them? Since Freemasonry began to be this has been a moot question; it is still. It will be
for years to come. It is a theme of perennial interest. For this reason we are very glad
indeed to give to our readers the reasoned and mature judgments of a scholar who has
every right to speak on this interesting question.
ALTHOUGH the Antient Charges forbid the admission or initiation of women into the
Order of Free and Accepted Masons, there are known instances where as the result of
accident or sometimes design the rule has been broken and women have been duly
initiated. The most prominent instance is that of the Hon. Elizabeth St. Leger, or, as she
afterwards became, on marriage, the Hon. Mrs. Aldworth, who is referred to sometimes,
though erroneously, as the “only woman who over obtained the honour of initiation into
the sublime mysteries of Freemasonry.”
The Hon. Elizabeth St. Leger was a daughter of the first Viscount Doneraile, a resident
of Cork. Her father was a very zealous Freemason and, as was the custom in his time -
the early part of the eighteenth century - held an occasional lodge in his own house,
when he was assisted by members of his own family and any brethren in the immediate
neighbourhood and visitors to Doneraile House. This lodge was duly warranted and held
the number 150 on the Register of the Grand Lodge of Ireland.
The story runs that one evening previous to the initiation of a gentleman named
Coppinger, Miss St. Leger hid herself in the room adjoining the one used as a
lodgeroom. This room was at that time undergoing some alterations and Miss St. Leger
is said to have removed a brick from the partition with her scissors and through the
aperture thus created witnessed the ceremony of initiation. What she saw appears to
have disturbed her so thoroughly that she at once determined upon making her escape,
but failed to elude the vigilance of the tyler, who, armed with a sword stood barring her
exit. Her shrieks alarmed the members of the lodge, who came rushing to the spot, when
they learned that she had witnessed the whole of the ceremony which had just been
enacted. After a considerable discussion and yielding to the entreaties of her brother it
was decided to admit her into the Order and she was duly initiated, and, in course of
time, became the Master of the lodge. According to Milliken, the Irish Masonic
historian, she was initiated in Lodge No. 95, which still meets at Cork, but there is no
record extant of her reception into the Order. It is, however, on record that she was a
subscriber to the Irish Book of Constitutions, which appeared in 1744 and that she
frequently attended, wearing her Masonic regalia, entertainments that were given under
Masonic auspices for the benefit of the poor and distressed. She afterwards married Mr.
Richard Aldworth of Newmarket and when she died she was accorded the honour of a
Masonic burial. She was cousin to General Antony St. Leger, of Park Hill, near
Doncaster, who, in 1776, instituted the celebrated Doncaster St. Leger races and stakes.
Helene, Countess Hadik Barkoczy, who was born in 1833, was the sole heiress of Count
Johann Barkoczy, and being the last of her race was permitted by the Hungarian Courts
to take the place of a son. She succeeded her father on his death in 1871, in the extensive
Majorat of Barkoczy. In 1860 she married Count Bela Hadik, aide-de-camp to the
unfortunate Emperor Maximillian of Mexico. With her inheritance she came into the
possession of an extensive Masonic library. She was a highly educated lady, and made
the Masonic literature her earnest study; and having mastered the statements concerning
almost every degree in Freemasonry, an ardent admiration for the Masonic idea was
aroused in her. She was well acquainted with some Freemasons, through whom she
endeavoured to gain admittance into the Craft. Her desire was granted and in 1875, she
was duly initiated in the Fodge Egyenloseg, in Unghvar, holding a warrant from the
Orient of Hungary. On hearing of this glaring on of the statutes the Grand Orient of
Hungary instituted proceedings against the brethren who had been guilty of this “breach
of the Masonic vow, unjustifiedly conferring Masonic Degrees, doing that which
degrades a Freemason and Freemasonry, and for knowingly violating the statutes.” The
judgment of the Council was given at their meeting on January 5th, 1876, when all the
accused were found guilty. The Deputy Master of the lodge was condemned to the loss
of all his Masonic rights and expulsion from the Order forever; the officers to have their
names struck off the lists and the other members of the lodge to be suspended for a space
of three, six, or twelve months. But still the question remained as to whether the duly
initiated Countess could and ought to be looked upon as a regular Freemason and
whether she could claim all the rights of a member of the Fraternity. On this point the
Grand Orient of Hungary decided in their meeting held on 10th March, 1876, as follows:
1 . The Grand Orient declares the admission of the Countess Hadik Barkoczy to be
contrary to the laws, and therefore null and void, forbids her admittance into any lodge of
their jurisdiction, under penalty of erasion of the lodge from the rolls, and requests all
Grand Fodges to do the same.
2. The Countess is requested to return the invalid certificate which she holds within ten
days, in default of which measures will be taken to confiscate immediately the certificate
whenever produced at any of the lodges.
Mrs. Beaton, a Norfolk lady, it is said, contrived to conceal herself behind the
wainscotting in a lodgeroom, where she learned the secret of the First degree, before she
was discovered, upon which she herself was initiated. There is, however, no official
record of this incident, which rests largely upon tradition.
Madame de Xaintrailles, the wife of General de Xaintrailles, was a member of an
Adoptive lodge, and it is said that she was afterwards initiated into Craft Masonry. This
event is said to have occurred at the close of the eighteenth century, but this also rests
largely upon tradition.
The story of Madame de Xaintrailles is told by Clavel in his Histoire Pittoresque de la
Franc-Maconnerie but neither date nor place is mentioned:
“Although the rule which forbids women admission to lodges is absolute, yet it has once
been infringed under very remarkable circumstances. The Lodge of Les Freres Artistes,
presided over by Bro. Covelier de Trie was giving a Fete of Adoption. Before the
introduction of the ladies the brethren had begun their ordinary work. Among the
visitors who were waiting in the ante-chamber was a young officer in the uniform of a
major of cavalry. He was asked for his certificate. After hesitating a few moments he
handed a folded paper to the Expert-Senior Deacon, who, without opening it, proceeded
to take it to the Orator. This paper was an aide-de-camp's commission issued to Madame
de Xaintrailles, wife of the General of that name, who, like the Demoiselles de Femig
and other Republican heroines, had distinguished herself in the wars of the revolution
and had won her rank at the point of the sword. When the Orator read to the lodge the
contents of this Commission the astonishment was general. They grew excited and it
was spontaneously decided that the First degree, not of Adoptive Masonry, but of real
Freemasonry, should be conferred there and then on the lady who so many times had
displayed all the virtues of a man and had deserved to be charged with important
missions which required as much courage as discretion and prudence. They at once
proceeded to acquaint Madame de Xaintrailles with the decision of the lodge and to ask
her if she would accept the hitherto unprecedented favour. Her reply was in the
affirmative. 'I am a man for my country,' she said, 'I will be a man for my brethren.' The
reception took place and from that time Madame de Xaintrailles often assisted in the
work of the Lodge.”
The Palladian Lodge, No. 120 on the Roll of the English Constitution of Free and
Accepted Masons, is said once to have numbered a lady among its members. It is a
tradition of the lodge that, in 1770, Mrs. Havard was proposed as an honourary member
and was initiated therein, in order that she might have the necessary qualification. There
is, however, no record of such initiation. The Palladian Lodge, it may be stated, was
warranted in 1762 and celebrated the centenary of its existence in 1862.
The most modem instance of a woman claiming to be a member of a recognized
Masonic lodge is that of Mrs. Catherine Babington, whose Biography was published by
her son, J. P. Babington, himself a member of Lee Lodge, No. 253, Taylorsville, N. C.,
U.S.A., the third edition of which was issued in 1912. Mrs. Babington was the only
daughter of Charles and Margaret Sweet, and was born at Princess Furnace, Kentucky,
on 28th December, 1815. Near her grandfather's house the Freemasons are said to have
met in the upper story of a building in a room designed for a church, in the corner of
which an old-fashioned pulpit had been erected and under which it is said she concealed
herself from time to time during a period of a year and a half, and where she frequently
saw and heard the various Masonic degrees conferred. Finally, the story goes on, one of
her uncles, named Ulen, who had left his rifle in the ante -room, went back to get it, and
saw Kate emerging from her place of concealment. When they got home he and his
brothers summoned her before them to find out what she had learned about
Freemasonry. Having ascertained the extent of her information the question arose as to
what was to be done. And the story runs: “Accordingly a suitable uniform of red flannel
was made and she was taken to the lodge where she was obligated as a regular Mason,
but not admitted to membership.” The day she took the obligations was the first and last
time she was ever inside a Masonic lodge (where she could be seen) while it was at
work. She knew Masonry and kept herself posted up until a short time before her death;
but never attempted to visit a lodge. On one occasion, it is related, while they were
considering her case in the lodge, she was met on the outside by a party of masked men
who demanded that she tell them what she knew about Masonry; and relating the
incident to her uncle, she is reported to have said: “They might kill me, but they could
never make me tell anything about Masonry.” Many incidents are told of her use of
Masonic signs and words in her travels through Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey,
Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee, and other States; but most of them are seemingly
improbable, if not impossible. Mrs. Babington died in Shelby, N.C., where she was
buried, and the “Shelby Aurora,” which was owned and edited by a member of the Craft,
describing the funeral, stated: “At her death she was the only female Mason in the United
States and was well versed in the workings of the lodge.”
The following curious advertisement appeared in the “Newcastle Weekly Chronicle” of
January 6th, 1770:
“This is to acquaint the public that on Monday, 1 st inst. being the lodge or monthly
meeting-night of the Free and Accepted Masons of the 22nd Regiment, held at the
Crown, near Newgate, Mrs. Bell, the landlady of the house, broke open a door with a
poker, by which means she got into an adjacent room, made two holes through the wall,
and by that stratagem discovered the secrets of Masonry, and knowing herself to be the
first woman in the world that ever found out the secret, is willing to make it known to all
her sex. So that any lady that is desirous of learning the secrets of Freemasonry, by
applying to that well-learned woman (Mrs. Bell) who has lived fifteen years in and about
Newgate, may be instructed in all secrets of Masonry.”
In the “Edinburgh Courant” of 2nd December, 1772, there appeared the following
“A few nights ago a regular Lodge of Freemasons was held at the Star in Watergate
Street, in the city of Chester, when a woman who lodged in the house, concealed herself
in a press in the lodge room in order to satisfy a painful curiosity she had a long time
imbibed of discovering the reason of their secret meetings; but the ever wary and careful
fraternity, making a timely and secret discovery of the place of her concealment,
assembled themselves within her hearing, and after repeating the punishment which they
always inflict on every person whom they detect prying into their secrets, opened the
press and took her out, almost dead with apprehension of what she was to suffer, which
had such an effect on the humanity of the brethren then present, that they unanimously
agreed to dismiss her, without doing her any other injury than that of a severe reprimand
for her folly.” The Masonic lodge held at this particular house at this time was the
principal lodge in the Chester Division of what are known as the Operative Freemasons.
This body has certain officers known as “Searchers” and their duty is to search the
lodgeroom, as well as all other rooms which are either under, over, or adjoining the
lodgeroom, and the tradition is that the woman was discovered by the Searchers before
the Operative lodge was opened.
Lady Morgan, in her Diary, published in 1859, claimed to have been initiated in a lodge
in Paris. Under date of January, 1819, she wrote:
“Well, here I am, a Free and Accepted Mason, according to the old Irish Masonic song.
When we drove to the solitudes of the Rue Vaugirard, Faubourg St. Germaine, we found
the court of the Hotel la Vilette and all the premises full of carriages: Belle et Bonne
magnificently dressed in white satin and diamonds, with Voltaire's picture round her
neck, set in brilliants, received us in the salon with a sort of solemn grace, very unlike
her usual joyous address. Madame la Generale Foy, the wife of the popular militaire,
stood beside her; his Royal Highness Prince Paul of Wurtemberg, the Bishop of
Jerusalem, Talma, Count de la Rochefoucault, in full dress, looking very like his
illustrious ancestor of Les Maximes; Denon, the Count de Cazes, pair de France (brother
to the premier, the Due de Cazes), General Favier, and many others whom we knew,
were assembled, and muttered their conversation in little groups. At half past eight they
all proceeded to hold the Chapter for the installation of the Dames Ecossaises du Temple,
according to the programme, we, les dames postulantes, remaining behind till we were
called for. I really began to feel some trepidation, and the stories that I had heard from
my childhood upwards, of the horrors of the trial of a free Masonic probation, rose to my
mind, red hot poker included. At nine o'clock we were summoned to attend the
'Overture de la Cour des Grands Commandeurs.' When the battants were thrown open, a
spectacle of great magnificence presented itself. A profusion of crimson and gold,
marble busts, a decorated throne and altar, a profusion of flowers, incense of the finest
odour filling the air, and, in fact, a spectacle of the most scenic and dramatic effect ever
presented itself. Such of the forms as are permitted to reach the ears profane are detailed
in the programme. We took the vows, but as to the Secret, it shall never pass these lips,
in holy silence sealed.”
It is clear that this was one of the many Adoptive lodges then in existence.
According to the records of the Lodge Sincerite held at Klattau, Bohemia, the charter of
which was recalled in September, 1780, a women's lodge was formed as an auxiliary, the
membership of which was confined to the wives of the members of the parent lodge. An
exception to this rule was made in favour of the Baroness Chanowsky de Langendorf,
who is described as “the most honest, virtuos, and fairest lady.” This female lodge
worked under the name “The Three Crowned Hearts”; but, with the exception of its by-
laws, no records of any kind concerning the activity of the lodge have been left. A
Master Mason managed the lodge as its Master, the office of Treasurer being also
occupied by a Master Mason, but, with these options, all the other officers were women.
The by-laws stipulated that the members should be “God-fearing, humble, discreet,
modest, honest, of righteous heart, obliging as well as charitably inclined toward the
poor.” The initiation could not take place when the candidate was in delicate health. The
petitions were passed upon by the Master as far as proposition fees were concerned in
accordance with the petitioner's circumstances or means, while the amount of dues was
fixed by the candidate herself.
The underlying purpose of the lodge was purely moral and virtuous. Besides impressing
upon its members the observation of secrecy, they were strictly admished to observe
peace, harmony, union, and unblemished behaviour, with the exclusion of haughtiness
and arrogance. They were also strictly given in charge to utter words of slander or
commit defamatory acts nor were they allowed in any circumstances to indulge in illicit
love affairs. The special task of strengthening the members in the observance of a
virtuous life was in the hands of the Master and the Woman Orator. The funds were
used to assist a sick sister or brother in the event of misfortune or unemployment. The
Constitution and By-laws of this lodge are in the archives of the National Museum in
Prague, Bohemia. The creation of the lodge contributed in no small degree to the
difficulties which afterwards befell the parent Lodge Sincerite, the members of which, in
the main, army officers belonging to the Dragoon Regiment Prince Coburg.
Mr. Charles Purton Cooper, F.R.S., a well-known Freemason of his day, addressed the
following communication to the editor of The Freemasons Magazine, which appeared in
that journal of April 4th, 1863:
“In the autumn of 183 1, whilst on a visit of importance to the 'domaine' of La Favee,
near the village of St. Eusebe des Pois, in Burgundy, then belonging to myself, but now
belonging to my grandson, Arthur, Viscount Delagueriviere, I became acquainted with
an octogenarian lady, the Countess de G — , owner of another 'domaine' in the
neighbourhood. The Countess, finding I was a Mason, spoke with singular delight of her
'reception au grade d'apprenti' in a Paris lodge about 1780 and regretted that a sudden
and lasting change of residence - France to Italy - had prevented her proceeding to a
higher degree. Her early days had been spent with her mother and grandmother at Dijon,
both of whom had been members of lodges there - one of the Loge La Concorde and the
other of the Loge Les Arts Reunis.”
The MS. “Constitutions of the Freemasons,” bearing date 1693 have occasionally been
quoted in support of the contention that at one time women were admitted into the
Masonic guilds. One of the clauses runs:
“The one of the elders taking the Booke, and that he or shee that is to bee made a MAson
shall lay their hands thereon, and the charge shall be given.”
IN the same manuscript there is more than one reference to the “Dame” as well as the
From the records of the Lodge of Operative Masons held at Mary's Chapel, Edinburgh, it
is evident that the widows of Master Masons could, to a limited extent, occupy the
position of “Dame” or “Mistress” in a Masonic sense,
“Adr., 17 of Apryle, 1683. The whilk day, in presence of Thomas Hamiltone deakone
and John Harvy warden, and remnant masters of the masone craft, in corroborations of
the former practise quhich was of use and wont amongst them, it is statute and ordained
that it shall be in tyme or in no wayes leithsome for a widow to undertake workes or to
imploy jurneymen in any manner or way, but if such work as ancient customers of the
deceased husbands or any other ouner who may out of kyndnesse offer the benefite of
their work to the sd widoes be ofered unto them, than and that caice it shall be leithsome
to them to have the benefite of the work, providing alwayes that they bespeake some
freeman by whose advyse and concurrance the worke shall be undertaken and the
jurneymen agreed with, quhich freeman is hereby charged to be altogether inhibited to
participate of the benefite arriessing from the sd work, under the paine of douhling the
soume reaped and arriessing to them by the sd work unjustly and to the prejudice of the
sd widoues, and contrare to the intent of the masters mette for this tyme; and lykewise to
underly the censure of the deakon and masters in all tyme coming, if they shall think it
expedient to punish them for their malversatione and circumventione of the said
widoues. Written and subscribed by order and with consent of the deakon, warden, and
masters by Ar. Smith, Clerk.”
In this connection mention must be made of the famous Chevalier D'Eon. Deon de
Beaument was bom at Tonnerre in Burgundy on 5th October, 1728, and, in 1755,
received an appointment at the Court of Louis XV. After a successful career in the
diplomatic world, in 1764, doubts began to be expressed very freely as to his sex. So
notorious did the matter become that between 1769 and 1777 a scheme of “Insurance on
the sex of M. le Chevalier (or Mile, la Chevaliere) D'Eon” resulted in policies to the
amount of 120,000 pounds being effected.
While the discussion was at its height, the Chevalier was initiated as a Freemason in La
loge de rimmortalite, a French lodge under the English Constitution, bearing the
number 376 on the roll of the Grand Lodge of England. The lodge was formed in 1766
and its headquarters were at the Crown and Anchor in the Strand. He proceeded to the
Third degree in January, 1769, and in the same year was appointed Junior Warden of the
lodge. Fearing that an attempt to kidnap him might be made by those who had effected
policies on the issue he was sheltered by Earl Ferrers at Staunton Harold, near Ashby-de-
la-Zouch. Earl Ferrers in 1762 and 1763 held the position of Grand Master of England.
In 1777 an action was brought by a policy-holder against an insurance broker to recover
the sum secured by the policy, when two witnesses swore in Court that, of their own
personal knowledge, the Chevalier was a woman. All doubt was, however, set at rest by
D'Eon's own admission that “he” was a woman. The King of France commanded that
the Chevalier should “resume the garments of her sex” and the command was obeyed. To
her credit, let it be said that she never again attempted to enter a Masonic lodge, but after
her death, there was found the manuscript of an essay on “Freemasonry and Quakerism,”
in which she said:
“What I say here about Masonry is not meant to win the Gold or Silver Medal, advertised
in the London 'Courier Francais,' but only to win, in my heart, a prize graven on the
Masonic Compass and Triangles, each point of which, like the Trinity, rests on Truth,
Virtue, and Benevolence, Common foundations of Equality and Justice between brothers
by birth and by Christianity, as between Brethren by Masonry, enlightened by the Sun of
Truth, inasmuch as this is the Truth held by the primitive Christians of Jerusalem and
Antioch. But since the Greek, Latin, Gallican, and Anglican Churches have organised
themselves into formidable bodies, they deride, individually and collectively, the sombre
Society of good Quakers, who are good only at whining, snivelling, and having no power
among them; while the Freemasons have established themselves in Worshipful Lodges,
in order to laugh, drink, sing at their ease, and display benevolence towards their
Brethren and Fellows dispersed over the Earth, without infringing the Laws of Moses or
of the Covenant. They spread sunshine, God's consolation, and true happiness in the
heart of all human beings capable of appreciating simple Virtue. The happiness of
Mankind and the well-being of the Material World are to be found in Nature, Reason,
Truth, Justice, and Simplicity, and not in huge bodies compiled by Philosophy and
The following advertisement appeared in the Publick Advertiser, of 7th March, 1759:
“FOR FEMALE SATISFACTION
“Whereas the mystery of Freemasonry has been kept a profound secret for several ages,
till at length some men assembled themselves at the Dover Castle, in the Parish of
Lambeth, under pretence of knowing the secret, and likewise in opposition to some
gentlemen that are real Freemasons, and hold a Lodge at the same house; therefore to
prove that they are no more than pretenders, and as the ladies have sometimes been
desirous of gaining knowledge of the noble art, several regular made Masons (both
ancient and modem) members of constituted Lodges in this metropolis have thought
proper to unite in a select body at Beau Silvester's, the sign of the Angel, Bull Stairs,
Southwark, and style themselves Unions, think it highly expedient, and injustice to the
fair sex, to initiate them therein, provided they are women of undeniable character; for
though no Lodge as yet (except the Free Union Masons) have thought proper to admit
women into the fraternity, we, well knowing they have as much right to attain to the
secrets as those Castle humbugs have thought proper so to do, not doubting but they will
prove an honour to the Craft; and as we have had the honour to inculcate several worthy
sisters therein, those that we desirous and think themselves capable of having the secret
conferred on them, by proper application, will be admitted, and the charges will not
exceed the expenses of our Lodge.”
The following advertisement appeared in various English newspapers in the early part of
“C. LOGE C.
“Advertissement aux dames, etc., - Pour vencre que les Francs Massons ne sont par telles
que le public les a representees en particulier la sexe feminine, cet loge juge a propos de
recevoir des femmes aussi bien que des hommes.
“N.B - Des dames seront introduits dans la loge avec la ceremonie accountemee ou le
serment ordinaire et le real secret leur seront administrees. On commencera a recevoir
des Dames, Jeudy, 1 1 de Mars, 1762, at Mrs. Maynard's, next door to the Lying Inn
Hospital, Brownlow- street, Long Acre. La porte sera ouverte a 6 heures du Soir. Les
Dames at Messieurs sont priees de ne pas venir apres Sept. Le prix est 1 pound Is.”
A STUDY OF MORMONISM AND ITS CONNECTION WITH MASONRY IN THE
BYBRO. S. H. GOODWIN. P. G. M., UTAH
THE PLAN of this paper contemplates a consideration of the introduction of Masonry
among the Mormons at Nauvoo, and a brief study of some of the outstanding conditions
in the midst of which Masonic work was done in that community up to the time when -
and shortly after - it was disowned by the Grand Lodge of Illinois.
In the latter part of April, 1839, the first steps were taken toward the establishment, in
Illinois, of a semi-theocratic community under the leadership of Joseph Smith, the
Mormon prophet. Similar attempts had been made by this teacher of a new faith at
Kirtland, Ohio, and at several points in the state of Missouri - all of which had come to a
disastrous conclusion. The “why” of these failures does not lie within the province of
On the date named certain of the Mormon leaders came up from Quincy, some fifty
miles down the Mississippi river - whither they had fled from their troubles in Missouri -
and definitely fixed upon a location for a new settlement. The site of this new Zion
included the straggling village of Commerce.
On the first of May, the initial purchase of land was made by a committee headed by
Joseph Smith. Soon other extensive holdings were secured and a year later, when a
postoffice was established there, the Post-master General re-christened the place
“Nauvoo,” in deference to the wishes of the settlers. (1)
To this place the Saints gathered in large numbers, coming especially from Missouri,
where multiplied troubles had beset them. In consequence of this movement Nauvoo
experienced a phenomenal growth, for those times. Within two years from the time the
first land was secured by Joseph Smith, the population had grown from almost nothing to
more than three thousand, and when Grand Master Jonas instituted Nauvoo Lodge,
March 15th, 1842, between eight and ten thousand people made their homes there. (2)
Three years later Nauvoo enjoyed the distinction of being the largest city in the state of
Illinois and, with the exception of St. Louis, it had no rival in the Northwest.
These people came originally from the older sections of the country and from foreign
lands, more particularly from England, and were largely the fruits of the aggressive
missionary policy which has distinguished this church from its inception.
Among those who were attracted by the proclamation of this new evangel were a number
who were, or had been, members of the Masonic fraternity. Prominent among these were
Dr. John C. Bennett, an Ohio Mason, Heber C. Kimball - one of the first apostles and a
trusted friend of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young - who had received the degrees in
Victor, New York, and Hyrum Smith, the prophet's brother, who was also a New York
Early in the summer of 1841 these Masons addressed a communication to Bodley Lodge
No. 1, located at Quincy, in which they asked for the usual recommendation in order that
they might establish a new lodge at Nauvoo. This request was denied, the reason
assigned by Bodley Lodge being that “.... as these persons are unknown to this lodge as
Masons, it was thought prudent not to do so. (4) A recent writer informs us that not only
was the recommendation withheld, but also that Bodley Lodge protested against the
granting of a dispensation to the Nauvoo brethren. (5) However that may be, on October
15th, 1841 - ten days after the close of Grand Lodge - Grand Master Jonas issued his
dispensation authorizing a lodge at Nauvoo, and five months later, March 15th, 1842, he
paid an official visit to that place and set the lodge to work.
In this connection it may not be amiss to note the fact in passing, that the Grand Lodge of
Illinois was barely one year old when the Nauvoo dispensation was issued, and that there
were few, if any, over one hundred members in the constituent lodges of the state. The
natural desire for increase of numbers may have had something to do in determining the
action of Grand Master Jonas in this case.
Prom the very first, the movement to establish a Masonic lodge in Nauvoo appears to
have been regarded with suspicion and distrust by Masons elsewhere in the state, more
particularly by the members of Bodley Lodge No. 1, at Quincy. (6) This attitude may
have been due, in part, at least, to the tales and rumours of misdoings which had
followed the Mormons from Ohio and Missouri. But there were other factors. The
history of the period now under review points unmistakably to certain political, religious,
social and personal forces and considerations which were not without a positive, and
very great, influence on the character and fortunes of the Mormon lodges, and which did
much to shape Masonic opinion concerning those lodges and their membership. At the
risk of a seeming digression, space must be given here to a consideration of some of
these elements of the situation, for otherwise we shall find ourselves without either clue
Among the sinister forces of the time which reacted unfavourably, politics played no
inconspicuous part. With the rapid increase of population at the Morman centre came a
realization, on the part of the politicians of the state, that the Mormon vote was a factor
that must be reckoned with. And the concern of the leaders of the two political parties
was in way lessened when they discovered the fact, that, for all practical puiposes, the
leaders of the church could turn the Mormon vote to the one party or the other, as their
plans or needs might dictate. If there lingered any doubt on this score in the minds of
any, must have been set at rest when the prophet unequivocally declared that he and his
people would support the men and party who were friendly to their interests. (7) As a
result, both Whigs and Democrats sought by acts of kindness and promises of help, to
win this support. Nor were the leaders of these religions slow in making use of their
At the general conference of the church held in October, 1 840, it was decided to petition
the St. Legislature to incoiporate the town of Nauvoo, and committee of three, including
Joseph Smith and Dr. John C. Bennett, was selected to draft the necessary petition and
bill. These documents were taken to Springfield by Bennett, who appears to have been a
shrewd lobbyist, in December of that year. When presented, the bill seems to have met
no opposition. It passed the lower house with only one or two dissenting votes, and the
Senate with none at all. (8) Indeed, we are informed by a recent wrier that in the House
of Representatives the bill was not even read, except by title. Yet there were in the
Assembly at the time such men of later national prominence as John A. Logan, Lyman
Trumbull and Abraham Lincoln. (9) And Stephen A. Douglass, then Secretary of State,
of Illinois, and leader of the Democratic party, used his influence to expedite the passage
of the bill. The act granting the charts to Nauvoo was signed by Governor Carlin,
December 16th, 1840.
This charter, which “included charters for the Nauvoo Legion and the University of the
City of Nauvoo,” was of a most extraordinary character. The only restrictions placed on
the city council was that no law should be passed which was repugnant to the
Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of the State. Among other unusual
powers granted by this remarkable instrument was that of issuing writs habeas coipus by
the municipal court. (10) This feature as the sequel shows, was a dangerous provision: it
was so liable to abuse. And it was abused. It was the misuse of such writs that brought
the city and state authorities into conflict, fed the fires of hatred an opposition and
furnished a pretext for mob action.
About the time that the Nauvoo Masons were taking the initial steps in the organization
of a lodge Judge Stephen A. Douglass, then one of the Justice of the State Supreme
Court and located at Quincy, visited Nauvoo, addressed the people, was entertained by
Joseph Smith, and while there appointed Dr. John C. Bennett Master in Chancery. As
noted above, Douglass had aided in securing the passage of the act of incoiporation for
Nauvoo, and had thereby won the gratitude of the Saints. His action in the present
instance increased the favour with which he was regarded by Joseph Smith and the
people. But it brought upon him the unsparing criticism of his political opponents and
from this the people whom he had so signally favoured did not entirely escape. Indeed,
so caustic was the criticism levelled at Douglass by one paper - the Warsaw Signal - that
Joseph Smith, in a vitriolic communication addressed to the editor of that paper, ordered
his subscription cancelled. (11) On another occasion, not long after the Nauvoo lodge
had been set to work, Douglass adjourned court in order that he might visit Nauvoo and
witness the review of the Nauvoo Legion. (12) In connection with the elections of that
fall Joseph Smith published an article in which he declared that the Mormon people did
not care a fig for Whig or Democrat; that they all looked alike, and that he would support
those who had shown themselves to be friends of the Mormons, adding, “Douglass is a
master spirit, and his friends are our friends. We are willing to cast our banners on the
air and fight by his side.” (13) In the gubernatorial election, which resulted in the choice
of Thomas Ford for Governor, the situation had become so tense that the opposing
candidate, Joseph Duncan, felt justified in making opposition to the Mormons one of the
chief planks of his platform. (14) The curious who may be desirous of seeing to what
lengths politicians were willing to go in those days to secure the support of the prophet
and his followers, are referred to some of the speeches made before political conventions
in Illinois during the early forties. (15)
Enough has been said above to indicate somewhat of the methods employed by the
politicians of those days and the sacrifices they were willing to make for party
advantage. The effort to win the Saints to the support of one political party or the other
continued to be a factor in their affairs as long is they remained in Nauvoo, and it was
this rivalry to secure their political adherence that made it possible for them to secure
such unusual favours and to wield the influence they did in political affairs. And it was
this rivalry that made them alternately courted and hated by those who would use them.
Another factor which at first blush might seem to be rather remote from the subject, but
which none the less militated against the Masonry of Nauvoo, developed in the county to
the south of that in which the city of the Saints was located.
Some time previous to the date upon which Grand Master Jonas issued his dispensation
to the Nauvoo brethren, a campaign was begun to secure the removal of the county-seat
from Quincy to Columbus. Quincy was the home of Bodley Lodge, while Grand Master
Jonas lived at Columbus. Naturally, the Grand Master was in favour of the proposed
change, while quite as naturally the prospect of losing the county seat did not commend
itself to the people of Quincy and the membership of the Masonic lodge there. A good
deal of bitterness was engendered as a result, and feeling ran so high that when the Grand
Master sent communications to the nine papers in advocacy of the change, those
reflectors of public feeling and opinion refused to print them. (17) Not to be baffled in
his purpose to carry on the fight, Grand Master Jonas and some of his friends went to St.
Louis, purchasing the necessary printing outfit, shipped it to Columbus and began the
publication of the Columbus Advocate, the very name of which indicated the purpose for
which it was established. While this furnished the Grand Master with a medium through
which he might express his views, it did not tend to mollify the feelings of the people of
Quincy. One result was, apparently, that the members of Bodley Lodge lost no
opportunity to embarrass the Grand Master, and the lodge minutes and the proceedings
of Grand Lodge show how this situation reacted unfavourably on the Nauvoo lodges.
(18) But, while the machinations of slanderous politicians, and the venom and ill-feeling
engendered in an extraneous squabble over a county seat were each influential in the
affairs of Nauvoo and its Masonry, neither was as baleful in its effects or as portentous of
evil for all concerned as were certain events which even then were taking place within
the community itself.
Exactly one month previous to the visit of Judge Douglass to Nauvoo, when he
appointed John C. Bennett Master in Chancery, viz., April 5, 1841, Joseph Smith took
his first plural wife. (19)
While this, so far as the available records show, was the first instance of the practice of
polygamy, or “the great and glorious principle of plural marriage,” (20) the doctrine had
been taught by Smith to certain of his followers fully ten years earlier. (21) According to
the records, the principle was first impressed upon the mind of the prophet in 1831, and
from the same sources we leam that immediately he made it known to a few of his close
personal friends, and that they in turn passed it on to certain others. (22) Although the
revelation on plural marriage, as it appears in Doctrine and Covenants, was committed to
writing July 12, 1843 - at which time Joseph Smith had not less than twelve plural wives,
and other leaders of the church had followed the prophet in this practice - it was not
officially proclaimed as a doctrine of the church until some years subsequent to the
settlement in Utah. (23)
A moment's digression at this point may be justified by the interesting fact that as late as
1865 Brigham Young - in conversation with a prominent visitor, who was a political
figure of national importance at the time - gave the impression that he was responsible
for the revelation on plural marriage. As reported in the Journal of Schuyler Colfax, the
president of the church declared, “. . . that the revelations of the Doctrine and Covenants
declared for monogamy, but that polygamy was a later revelation commanded by God to
him and a few others, and permitted and advised to the rest of the church.” (24)
It is a matter of record that Joseph Smith began teaching this principle actively, though
with great caution, in the year following the settlement at Nauvoo. (25) At first he
confided it only to his closest friends, and those in whom he had absolute confidence,
and not to them until he had exacted the most solemn promises of secrecy, for it was not
yet “lawful” to utter this teaching in the hearing of the multitude. (26) He did, however,
venture to test the feelings of the people concerning this doctrine, some time prior to the
return of apostles from Europe, viz., before July 1, 1841. On the occasion named he
preached a sermon on the “Restoration of All Things,” in which he strongly hinted that
the “patriarchal, or plural order of marriage, practised by the ancients, would again be
established.” We leam that this statement created great excitement and consternation
among those who heard the discourse - delivered at a morning service - so much so, in
fact, that the prophet “deemed it wisdom, the afternoon, to modify his statement by
saying it possibly the spirit had made the time seem nearer in it really was, when such
things would be restored.” (27)
From the evidence at hand it appears that while this time, i.e., during the first half of the
year 1841, knowledge and acceptance of the doctrine of a plurality of wives were
confined to the leaders and principal men the church - and that not all of them had been
enlightened on the subject - within two years information on the subject had been quite
generally disseminated among the people. (28)
To believe that such a revolutionary practice could be taught and indulged in for any,
considerable length time and have a knowledge of the, fact limited to those for whom it
was intended, would place too great a tax upon our credulity and would flatly contradict
the teaching of experience concerning human nature. The presence of “apostates”' in the
community, and in adjoining settlements, some of whom had stood high in the councils
of the church, would preclude the possibility of maintaining secrecy. Gradually,
knowledge what was going on in respect to plurality of wives percolated throughout the
community, and was taken up and given trumpet-voice by the enemies of the church.
Here, too, the fact should be noted, that while it appears to have been a matter of
common belief that the leaders of the church were practising polygamy, those same
leaders did not hesitate to deny, directly and by implication, that such was the case. This
conflict between the teaching and practices of Joseph Smith and others was used with
effect by those who, one reason or other, had entered the lists against the Mormons.
When referring to this feature, a present-day historian, and member of the church,
declared that, “wicked men took advantage of the situation and brought sorrow to the
hearts of the innocent and reproach upon the church.” (29)
A single incident that occurred but a few months before the prophet's death must suffice
to illustrate what, not unfairly, might be characterized as double-dealing. It seems that
an elder of the church who had been instructed in the doctrine of a plurality of wives, had
been sent up into Lapeer county, Michigan. Whatever the directions he may have
received from the church authorities as to the use to be made of this teaching, his zeal
appears to have outrun his wisdom. He publicly proclaimed the principle with the result
that the greatest excitement ensued. Upon learning the facts, Joseph and Hyrum Smith
prepared and published the following, in the church paper:
As we have lately been credibly informed, that an elder of the Church of Jesus Christ, of
Latter Day Saints by the name of Hiram Brown, has been preaching Polygamy, and other
false and corrupt doctrines, in the county of Lapeer, state of Michigan.
This is to notify him and the church in general, that he has been cut off from the Church,
for his iniquity; and he is further notified to appear at the Special Conference on the, 6th
of April next, to answer to these charges.
Joseph Smith Hyram Smith
Presidents of said Church. (30)
Yet, at the time when this “notice” was published, the prophet was the husband of not
less than twenty plural wives. (3 1) It might be noted in passing that the matter of Elder
Brown's delinquencies was only remotely hinted at by Joseph Smith at the April
Conference, and the people were told that if they expected that matters of a petty, trivial
character were to be considered they were doomed to disappointment. (32)
Instances of denial that polygamy was either taught or practised at Nauvoo or elsewhere
occur not infrequently in the literature of the church, even some years after the death of
the Prophet. (33) It appears, however, that such statements, and even the paragraphs in
Doctrine and Covenants which deal with monogamy are not to be regarded as denials of
the principle by church authorities, but rather as an “evasion to satisfy the popular
Undoubtedly the disaffection of Dr. John C. Bennett, which occurred early in May, 1842,
had more to do with focusing attention upon the practice of polygamy by Joseph Smith
and others, than any other one event. It is immaterial, for our purpose, how this man is
to be regarded. He appears to have been a very devil, or a gentleman and a scholar,
according to the point of view of the writer. (35) This much is beyond dispute: he told
the truth, and not “wicked lies about Joseph” when he declared that the prophet “taught
doctrines in secret which he dare not make public,” and that he “preached one thing in
public and practised another in private.” (36) And further, that he stated facts when he
declared in his book - “The History of the Saints” - that Joseph Smith at that time, 1842,
had plural wives, including Louisa Beman. (37) It is equally beyond controversy that
Bennett was in a position to greatly injure the prophet, and no less true that he used this
power to the utmost. In fact, it has been asserted by a recent writer that more than any
other influence or person, he was responsible for the downfall of the Mormon church in
Illinois. (38) For something like a year and a half Bennett had been in a position to
know the inner counsels of the leaders of the church, for he was in fact one of those
leaders. When he became a member of the church he was Quartermaster General of the
State of Illinois. He helped to draft the famous charters and the bill for the incorporation
of Nauvoo, and himself carried them up to Springfield and urged the passage of the act.
He had been the first Mayor of Nauvoo under the new charter, was second in command
of the Nauvoo Legion, was made Master in Chancery by Judge Stephen A. Douglass,
and for a time occupied Sidney Rigdon's place as a member of the first presidency of the
church. When the break came between Bennett and the prophet, the latter, fully
appreciating the power of Bennett to do harm, immediately proceeded to forestall the use
of that power as far as possible, and this in ways which must have been humiliating to
Bennett, almost beyond endurance. (39) In return, Bennett used voice and pen most
persistently and effectively against Joseph Smith and all the interests with which he was
identified. That Smith was fully alive to the danger from this quarter, and that it was not
imaginary, appears from the fact that at his suggestion a special conference assembled at
Nauvoo in August, 1842, “for the puipose of calling a number of elders to go out in
different directions and by their preaching deluge the states with a flood of truth, to allay
the excitement which had been raised by the falsehoods put in circulation by John C.
Bennett and others.” (40) Nearly four hundred men volunteered to undertake this work.
(41) The prophet himself had been in hiding for three weeks immediately preceding this
conference - his whereabouts being unknown to his people (42) - on account of Bennett's
activities. From Smith's journal we learn that he had been in Nauvoo during the entire
The foregoing statement of facts will aid to an understanding of some of the conditions
which existed in Nauvoo at the time of the planting of Masonry in that place, and
suggests at least, that perhaps the soil there was not the very best for the development of
the principles of our art. And further, this recital leaves little room for doubt that the
irregularities permitted in the lodge room and the “contumacious” treatment of the edicts
and messengers of the Grand Master were not the only considerations - although they
were quite sufficient in themselves - that had weight in determining the status of
Freemasonry among the Latter Day Saints. We may now proceed with the story of the
As noted above, Grand Master Abraham Jonas instituted Nauvoo Lodge, U.D., and set it
to work, March 15, 1842. The circumstances attending this function, so far as they are
matters of record, are most interesting.
Upon his return home the Grand Master wrote quite an extended account of the occasion
under the caption, “Nauvoo and the Mormons,” which was published in his paper, the
Columbus Advocate. Among other things he said:
“While at Nauvoo I had a fine opportunity of seeing the people in a body. There was a
Masonic celebration, and the Grand Master of the State was present for the purpose of
publicly installing the officers of a new lodge. An immense number of persons
assembled on the occasion, variously estimated from five to ten thousand persons, and
never in my life did I witness a better-dressed or a more orderly and well behaved
assemblage; not a drunken or disorderly person to be seen, and the display of taste and
beauty among the females could not well be surpassed anywhere.
“During my stay of three days, I became well acquainted with their principal men, and
more particularly with their prophet, the celebrated 'Old Joe Smith.' I found them
hospitable, polite, well-informed and liberal. With Joseph Smith, the hospitality of
whose house I kindly received, I was well pleased.” (44)
From the journal of Joseph Smith himself, we get a little more intimate view of what
actually took place. Unlike the Grand Master, he was not writing for the purpose of
confounding his critics. Under date of “Tuesday, March 15,” he wrote:
“I officiated as Grand Chaplain at the installation of the Nauvoo lodge of Freemasons, at
the Grove near the Temple. Grand Master Jonas, of Columbus, being present, a large
number of people assembled on the occasion. The day was exceedingly fine; all things
were done in order. In the evening I received the First degree in Freemasonry in Nauvoo
Lodge, assembled in my general business office.” (45)
On the day following, March 16, he wrote: “I was with the Masonic lodge and rose to the
sublime degree.” (46)
From one other source comes a little indirect light upon the events connected with the
institution of Nauvoo Lodge.
Not long after this lodge had been set to work, rumours became current of unusual
proceedings therein which seemed to set at defiance well known and established
Masonic law and usage. These tales finally crystallized into assertions, and on the 16th
of July, following, Bodley Lodge, at Quincy, held a special meeting, called for the
purpose of considering the matter and taking such action as the facts might seem to
warrant. After discussion, the sentiment of the meeting took the form of resolutions.
One of these called upon Grand Master Jonas to suspend the dispensation of Nauvoo
Lodge until the annual communication of Grand Lodge. Another throws a little light
back upon the events connected with the institution of that lodge. This resolution reads:
“Resolved, That Bodley Lodge No. 1, of Quincy, request of the Grand Lodge of the State
of Illinois, that a committee be appointed at the next annual meeting of said lodge, to
make inquiry into the manner the officers of the Nauvoo Lodge, U.D., were installed,
and by what authority the Grand Master initiated, passed and raised Messrs. Smith and
Sidney Rigdon to the degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason, at
one and the same time, and that the proceedings of the committee be reported for the
benefit of this lodge.” (47) This resolution seems to show that Bodley Lodge was not
pleased with the public “installation” of the officers of Nauvoo Lodge - “at the Grove
near the Temple,” in the presence of a vast throng and during which the Mormon prophet
served as Grand Chaplain, though he was not at the time even a member of the Blue
Lodge - and further, that Sidney Rigdon, as well as Joseph Smith, was made a Mason “at
The fact might be noted in passing that presumably it was this unusual action of the
Grand Master in behalf of the two church leaders, that was in the mind of one of the
present-day apostles of the Mormon church when he wrote that, “Great Masonic honours
were conferred upon Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon.” (48) Be this as it may, the
action taken by Bodley Lodge had the desired effect, and on August 1 1th, less than six
months after its institution, the Grand Master issued his order, suspending the
dispensation of Nauvoo Lodge until the annual communication of Grand Lodge. In this
short period, the lodge had initiated candidates, of which number 256 had been raised.
When the matter came before Grand Lodge, October 3, 1842, the Grand Master
explained his action in connection with Nauvoo Lodge and submitted the correspondence
in relation thereto. (49) To the keen regret of the student of those events, no word
appears of record which throws any light on the character of the explanation made. The
matter was placed in the hands of the Committee on Returns and Work of the lodges
consideration and recommendation.
On the evening of the second day's session of and Lodge this committee presented a
divided report. The majority regretted that the lodge had disregarded the instructions of
the Grand Master - to send up the records of the lodge - but expressed the belief that
probably the work done conformed to the requirements of Grand Lodge. However,
evidence submitted seemed to show that the “intention and ancient landmarks of our
institution have been departed from, an inexcusable extent,” but that the actual situation
could be ascertained only by an investigation of the proceedings and an inspection of the
original records the lodge. The committee therefore recommended at the dispensation be
suspended till the next annual communication of Grand Lodge, and that a committee be
appointed to visit Nauvoo, make a thorough examination and report its findings to Grand
Lodge at its next annual communication.
The minority report partook somewhat of the character of a “Scotch verdict.” The
evidence submitted had failed to establish any irregularities, but fearing that such
irregularities could be shown, the third member of the committee joined his colleagues in
the recommendation made. (50)
A substitute motion prevailed which provided for the appointment of a special
committee whose duty it should be to proceed at once to Nauvoo, make the investigation
contemplated and report results to the Grand Master. He in turn was authorized to
remove the injunction suspending labour, or to continue it, as the facts presented by the
committee might warrant. (51) This committee entered at once upon the task assigned
and in due time reported its findings to the Grand Master. Investigation showed that
grave irregularities had obtained in the work of the lodge, and that these were of such
character as to “strike at once at the vital principles of our Order.” Among others, the
committee specified the practice of balloting for several candidates at one and the same
time, and a tendency to make a reformatory of the lodge. In review of the whole
situation, while the committee found much to regret and much to deplore, it was of the
opinion that the case did not demand that the injunction suspending labour be made
perpetual, and therefore recommended that the lodge be permitted to resume its work, till
the next annual communication of Grand Lodge, and that some member of the Craft
should be appointed to visit Nauvoo for the purpose of reminding the brethren of the
irregularities complained of and admonish them to avoid the same in the future. In
accordance with this recommendation, Grand Master Helm, on November 2, 1 842,
issued his order which permitted the lodge to resume labour. (52) From such evidence
as is at hand it appears that the Nauvoo brethren lost no time in getting to work, and the
results of their efforts were certainly remarkable. During the eleven months immediately
following the restoration of their dispensation, they were so successful in the work of
increasing their numbers, that dispensations for two additional lodges in Nauvoo were
granted, and the Grand Master in his address to Grand Lodge recommended that before
the charter requested should issue to Nauvoo Lodge, its membership should be divided
into four or more distinct lodges. (53)
1. “The Historical Record,” Volume VIII, 1889, p. 751.
2. “The Historical Record,” Volume VIII, 1889, p. 757. Cf. McMaster's Hist, of the
People of the U.S., Volume V, p. 210.
3. “Life of Heber C. Kimball,” Whitney, 1888, p. 26.
4. “Reynolds' History of Freemasonry in Illinois,” 1869, p. 152.
5. “Mormonism and Its Connection with Freemasonry, 1842-34, Nauvoo, 111,” Smith.
“The American Tyler,” Feb. 1, 1905.
6. “Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Illinois,” 1842, pp. 52-8.
7. “Times and Seasons,” Volume III, 1841, p. 651.
8. “Masonic Voice-Review,” (new series), Volume X, 1908, p.261.
10. “Historical Record,” Volume VIII, 1889, p. 754; “Masonic Voice-Review,” Volume
X (new series), pp. 261-2. See also “Times and Seasons,” Volume II, pp. 284-86.
11. “Masonic Voice-Review,” Volume X (new series), 1908, p. 262. This letter,
addressed to the editor, reads: “You will please discontinue my paper; its contents are
calculated to pollute me. And to patronize that filthy sheet, that tissue of lies, that sink of
iniquity, is disgraceful to any moral man. Yours with contempt, Joseph Smith. P. S.
Please publish the above in your contemptible paper.” For Smith's account of this visit of
Douglass and Walker - leaders of the Democratic and Whig parties, respectively - see
“Times and Seasons,” May 15, 1841. In the issue of the same publication, for June 1,
1 84 1 , is an editorial which deals with the strictures of the Warsaw Signal.
12. “Historical Record,” Volume VII, 1888, p. 764.
13. “Times and Seasons,” Volume III, 1841, p. 651.
14. “Historical Record,” Volume VII, 1888, p. 530.
15. “Times and Seasons,” Volume V, p. 549; “Millennial Star,” Volume XII, 1850, p.
16. “History of the Church, Period 1, Joseph Smith,” B. H. Roberts, Volume IV, 1908,
Introduction, p. 21.
17. “Masonic Voice-Review,” Volume X (new series), 1908, p. 294.
18. “Reynolds History of Freemasonry in Illinois,” 1869, pp. 174-75; “Proceedings
Grand Lodge of Illinois,” 1842, pp. 52-3.
19. “Historical Record,” Volume VI, 1887, pp. 232-33.
20. “Deseret News,” May 20, 1886. Article by Apostle Joseph F. Smith, afterwards, and
until his death, recently, President of the Mormon church; “Historical Record,” Volume
VI, 1887, p. 219.
21. “Rise and Fall of Nauvoo,” B. H. Roberts, 1900, p. 115; “Historical Record,”
Volume VI, 1887, p. 230; Cf. “History of the Church, Period 1, Joseph Smith,” B. H.
Roberts, Volume V, 1909, Introduction, pp. 29-46.
23. “Deseret News Extra,” September 14 1852; “Historical Record,” Volume VI, 1887,
p. 227; “Life of Heber C. Kimball,” O.F.Whitney, 1888, p. 335.
24. “Western Galaxy,” Volume I, 1888, p. 247. This is a quotation from the Journal of
Schuyler Colfax, 1865.
25. “Historical Record,” Volume VI, 1887, p. 221; “Life of Heber C. Kimball,” Whitney,
1888, pp. 331-32; “History of the Church, Period I, Joseph Smith,” B.H. Roberts,
Volume V, 1, 1909, Introduction, p. 34.
26. “Life of Heber C. Kimball,” O.F. Whitney, 1888, pp. 333, 335; “One Hundred Years
of Mormonism,” Evans, p. 474; “Succession in the Presidency of the Church,” B.H.
Roberts, 1900, p. 120; Cf. “Biography of Lorenzo Snow,” by his sister, E.R. Snow, 1884,
27. “Life of Heber C. Kimball,” O.F. Whitney, 1888, p.338. The words quoted in the text
are those of Helen Mar Kimball, a daughter of H.C. Kimball, who was afterwards (May,
1843) married to Joseph Smith.
28. “Millennial Star,” Volume 45, 1885, p.436; “Historical Record,” Volume VI, 1887,
pp. 220, 227.
29. “Rise and Fall of Nauvoo,” B. H. Roberts, 1900, p. 118.
30. “Times and Seasons,” Volume V. Feb. 1, 1844, p.423; Cf. “Historical Record,”
Volume VI, 1887, p. 220.
31. “Historical Record,” Volume VI, 1887, pp. 233-34.
32. “Times and Seasons,” Volume V, 1844, p. 522.
33. “Millennial Star,” Volume 12, 1850, pp. 29-30; same, Volume 45, 1885, p. 435.
34. “Millennial Star,” Volume 45, 1885, p. 435. It is only fair to state that later, a
different explanation of these denials was given, and that the latter appears to be the
position held by church leaders today. Thus, B.H. Roberts tells us that the leaders were
obliged to make these denials because “... over-zealous advocates and illinformed
denunciators never truly represented the doctrine of the revelation on marriage,” and so,
“the denials of these misstatements of the doctrine and its practice was not regarded by
the leading elders of the church as a denial of the doctrine of the revelation; and while
this may be considered a refinement in presentation that the world will not allow, it
nevertheless represents a distinction that was real to those who were struggling with a
difficult proposition, and accounts for the seeming denials made by John Taylor, in
public discussion with three ministers at Boulogne-sur-mer, France, 1850.” “History of
the Mormon Church,” B.H. Roberts, Americana, Volume VI, 191 1, P. 297. To those who
do not have access to any early and conclusive evidence in support of this position, this
later explanation may seem, as it does to the writer of these lines, as an afterthought
made use of to meet it rather difficult and disagreeable situation. Other instances of these
“denials” are to be found in Hyrum Smith's letter in “Times and Seasons,” Volume V, p.
474, and in Joseph Smith's journal, under date of Oct. 5, 1843, where he writes: “Gave
instructions to try those persons who were preaching, teaching, or practising the doctrine
of plurality of wives.” “History of the Church, Period 1, Joseph Smith,” Volume VI,
1912, p. 46. 35.”Historical Record,” Volume VII, 1888, p. 495; Bennett's book, “History
of the Saints,” 1842, pp. 10-35; “History of the Church, Period 1, Joseph Smith,”
Volume V, 1909, pp. 67-83.
36. “The History of the Saints,” John C. Bennett, 1842, pp. 287; “Historical Record,”
Volume VII, 1888, p. 495; with this ef. “Historical Record,” Volume VI, 1887, pp. 219-
37. “History of the Saints,” John C. Bennett, 1842, p.256; “Historical Record,” Volume
VI, 1887, pp. 221 and 233.
38. “Masonic Voice-Review,” (new series), Volume X, 1908, p.334.
39. “Times and Seasons,” Volume III, 1842, pp. 870, 874; “History of the Church,
Period 1, Joseph Smith,” B.H.Roberts, Volume V, 1909, pp. 71-82.
40. “Historical Record,” Volume VII, 1888, p.500; “History of the Church, Period 1,
Joseph Smith,” B.H. Roberts, Volume V, 1909, p. 136.
41. “History of the Church, Period 1, Joseph Smith,” B.H.Roberts, Volume V, 1909, p.
42 Ibid, p. 137; Cf. “Succession in the Presidency,” B.H. Roberts, 1900, p.l 18
43. “History of the Church, Period 1, Joseph Smith,” B.H. Roberts, Volume V, 1909,
44. “Times and Seasons,” Volume III, 1842, pp. 749-750; “History of the Church, Period
1, Joseph Smith,” B.H. Roberts, Volume IV, 1908, pp. 565-566.
45. “History of the Church, Period 1, Joseph Smith,” B.H.Roberts, Volume IV, 1908, pp.
46. Ibid, p. 552.
47. “Reynolds' History of Freemasonry in Illinois,” 1869, pp. 174-175.
48. “Deseret News,” Editorial, July 16, 1906.
49. “Proceedings, Grand Lodge of Illinois,” 1842, p. 52.
50. Ibid, pp. 58-59.
51. Ibid, pp. 59-60.
52. Ibid, pp. 71-72.
53. “Proceedings, Grand Lodge of Illinois,” 1843, p. 85.
KEEPING HOUSE WITH GOl)
BY BRO. L B. MITCHELL, MICHIGAN
As the consciousness of nature,
As the very heart of life,
As the wonder creature venture
In whom centers care and strife;
As those who in coming, going,
Pass oft 'neath the chasfning rod
Of their own, and read their sowing,
We've been keeping house with God.
Through the ages we've been striving
For what we have deemed the right,
But on failure of arriving
Found ourselves in direst plight;
For autocracy's intention
Was to wipe from off the sod
Those who dared to make pretention
Of their keeping house with God.
But through sacrifice of millions
Of the flower of the race,
And of treasure into billions
We have earned sweet freedom's place;
Yet we seem e'en more than ever
In a strange, abnormal plod,
There's unrest the wide world over
In its keeping house with God.
While we're trusted with the keeping
Of the house by nature given,
We abnormally are seeking
In a super-way, our heaven, -
We are taming to the visions
Of the race of early plod,
Worked to creeds that cause divisions
In our keeping house with God.
But we now should learn as mortals, -
Children on the strands of time,
That while striving in its portals
That our part is the sublime, -
That tme manhood, character,
What'er be the joy or plod
Is the requisite forever
Of our keeping house with God.
We must rise to clearer vision
Of the brotherhood of man,
We must come to the decision
That the heart leads in the plan,
And that love gives all the value
To all else above the sod,
And that to it we must square to
In our keeping house with God.
No really great man ever thought himselt so. - Hazlitt.
FOR THE MONTHLY LODGE MEETING
CORRESPONDENCE CIRCLE BULLETIN NO. 45
Edited by Bro. H. L. Haywood
THE BULLETIN COURSE OF MASONIC STUDY FOR MONTHLY LODGE
MEETINGS AND STUDY CLUBS
FOUNDATION OF THE COURSE
THE Course of Study has for its foundation two sources of Masonic information: THE
BUILDER and Mackey's Encyclopedia. In another paragraph is explained how the
references to former issues of THE BUILDER and to Mackey's Encyclopedia may be
worked up as supplemental papers to exactly fit into each installment of the Course with
the papers by Brother Haywood.
The Course is divided into five principal divisions which are in turn subdivided, as is
Division I. Ceremonial Masonry.
A. The Work of the Lodge.
B. The Lodge and the Candidate.
C. First Steps.
D. Second Steps.
E. Third Steps.
Division II. Symbolical Masonry.
B. Working Tools.
Division III. Philosophical Masonry.
D. Religious Aspect.
E. The Quest.
G. The Secret Doctrine.
Division IV. Legislative Masonry.
A. The Grand Lodge.
1. Ancient Constitutions.
2. Codes of Law.
3. Grand Lodge Practices.
4. Relationship to Constituent Lodges.
5. Official Duties and Prerogatives.
B. The Constituent Lodge.
2. Qualifications of Candidates.
3. Initiation, Passing and Raising.
5. Change of Membership.
Division V. Historical Masonry.
A. The Mysteries— Earliest Masonic Light.
B. Studies of Rites— Masonry in the Making.
C. Contributions to Lodge Characteristics.
D. National Masonry.
E. Parallel Peculiarities in Lodge Study.
F. Feminine Masonry.
G. Masonic Alphabets.
H. Historical Manuscripts of the Craft.
I. Biographical Masonry.
J. Philological Masonry— Study of Significant Words.
THE MONTHLY INSTALLMENTS
Each month we are presenting a paper written by Brother Haywood, who is following the
foregoing outline. We are now in “First Steps” of Ceremonial Masonry. There will be
twelve monthly papers under this particular subdivision. On page two, preceding each
installment, will be given a list of questions to be used by the chairman of the Committee
during the study period which will bring out every point touched upon in the paper.
Whenever possible we shall reprint in the Correspondence Circle Bulletin articles from
other sources which have a direct bearing upon the particular subject covered by Brother
Haywood in his monthly paper. These articles should be used as supplemental papers in
addition to those prepared by the members from the monthly list of references. Much
valuable material that would otherwise possibly never come to the attention of many of
our members will thus be presented.
The monthly installments of the Course appearing in the Correspondence Circle Bulletin
should be used one month later than their appearance. If this is done the Committee will
have opportunity to arrange their programs several weeks in advance of the meetings and
the brethren who are members of the National Masonic Research Society will be better
enabled to enter into the discussions after they have read over and studied the installment
in THE BUILDER.
REFERENCES FOR SUPPLEMENTAL PAPERS
Immediately preceding each of Brother Haywood's monthly papers in the
Correspondence Circle Bulletin will be found a list of references to THE BUILDER and
Mackey's Encyclopedia. These references are pertinent to the paper and will either
enlarge upon many of the points touched upon or bring out new points for reading and
discussion. They should be assigned by the Committee to different brethren who may
compile papers of their own from the material thus to be found, or in many instances the
articles themselves or extracts therefrom may be read directly from the originals. The
latter method may be followed when the members may not feel able to compile original
papers, or when the original may be deemed appropriate without any alterations or
HOW TO ORGANIZE FOR AND CONDUCT THE STUDY MEETINGS
The lodge should select a “Research Committee” preferably of three “live” members.
The study meetings should be held once a month, either at a special meeting of the lodge
called for the purpose, or at a regular meeting at which no business (except the lodge
routine) should be transacted— all possible time to be given to the study period.
After the lodge has been opened and all routine business disposed of, the Master should
turn the lodge over to the Chairman of the Research Committee. This Committee should
be fully prepared in advance on the subject for the evening. All members to whom
references for supplemental papers have been assigned should be prepared with their
papers and should also have a comprehensive grasp of Brother Haywood's paper.
PROGRAM FOR STUDY MEETINGS
1 . Reading of the first section of Brother Haywood's paper and the supplemental papers
(Suggestion: While these papers are being read the members of the lodge should make
notes of any points they may wish to discuss or inquire into when the discussion is
opened. Tabs or slips of paper similar to those used in elections should be distributed
among the members for this purpose at the opening of the study period.)
2. Discussion of the above.
3. The subsequent sections of Brother Haywood's paper and the supplemental papers
should then be taken up, one at a time, and disposed of in the same manner. 4. Question
MAKE THE “QUESTION BOX” THE FEATURE OF YOUR MEETINGS
Invite questions from any and all brethren present. Let them understand that these
meetings are for their particular benefit and get them into the habit of asking all the
questions they may think of. Every one of the papers read will suggest questions as to
facts and meanings which may not perhaps be actually covered at all in the paper. If at
the time these questions are propounded no one can answer them, SEND THEM IN TO
US. All the reference material we have will be gone through in an endeavor to supply a
satisfactory answer. In fact we are prepared to make special research when called upon,
and will usually be able to give answers within a day or two. Please remember, too, that
the great Library of the Grand Lodge of Iowa is only a few miles away, and, by order of
the Trustees of the Grand Lodge, the Grand Secretary places it at our disposal on any
query raised by any member of the Society.
The foregoing information should enable local Committees to conduct their lodge study
meetings with success. However, we shall welcome all inquiries and communications
from interested brethren concerning any phase of the plan that is not entirely clear to
them, and the Services of our Study Club Department are at the command of our
members, lodge and study club committees at all times.
QUESTIONS ON “THE EMBLEMS”
THE BOOK OF CONSTITUTIONS
Recite the monitorial lecture on “The Book of Constitutions guarded by the Tyler's
Were written constitutions known to Operative Freemasons in the eleventh to fifteenth
centuries? How were the traditions and charges communicated to the candidate in those
times? What is supposed to have been the gradual evolution of these traditions and
What is the oldest manuscript of the Old Charges? In what form was it written? What is
the next oldest copy? To whom are we indebted for our present collection of these old
documents? How many copies of these have been collected and preserved ?
What happened to a number of the Old Charges that were in the hands of Masons at the
beginning of the eighteenth century? When was one of the first attempts made to collate
Who made the first digest of these old manuscript constitutions shortly after the
formation of the Grand Lodge of England? In what light is Dr. Anderson's work looked
upon at the present day?
What symbolical interpretation may be placed upon the Book of Constitutions?
What is the symbolical significance of “the Book of Constitutions guarded by the Tyler's
Sword?” What is the origination of the word “tyler”, and when was that office first
created? What is one theory of the derivation of the word? What is another theory? Of
what should the Tiler be a reminder?
Whence was the word “cowan” derived? What is supposed to have been the original
meaning of the word? In what other sense was the word used?
When was the term introduced into English Masonry? By whom was it supposed to have
been introduced? What is its present-day literal meaning? Is it the Tiler's duty alone to
“keep off cowans”?
THE SWORD POINTING TO A NAKED HEART
Recite the monitorial lecture on “The Sword Pointing to a Naked Heart.”
What is Mackey's theory of the origin of the symbol of the “Sword Pointing to a Naked
Heart” ? How is it presumed to have come into our ritual?
Of what is the heart a symbol in this instance? the sword?
What was one of the early beliefs concerning God? What did the term “morality” mean
in those days?
How is the “moral law” interpreted by Masons of the present day?
Vol. I “The Charles Martel Legend in Freemasonry,” by Bro. Oliver D. Street, p. 223.
Vol. Ill “Antiquities,” p. 181; “Cowan,” June C.C.B. p.4; “Freemasonry and
Monasticism in the Middle Ages,” by Bro. Robert I. Clegg, Jan. C.C.B. p. 1.
Vol. V. “Cowan,” Q.B. 165.
Anderson, James, p.57; Book of Constitutions Guarded by the Tyler's Sword, p. 113;
Cowan, p. 183; Sword Pointing to the Naked Heart, p. 750; Tyler, p. 786.
BY BRO. H.L. HAYWOOD, IOWA
PART IX - THE EMBLEMS - CONTINUED
THE BOOK OF CONSTITUTIONS
DURING the period lying, say, between 1000 and 1400, when Operative Freemasonry
was enjoyings its plentitude of power, it is probable that no written Constitutions were in
use. According to such meagre evidence as we possess it is probable that the candidate,
at the time of his initiation, was given oral account of the traditional history of the Craft
that the Master gave him the charges of instruction and duty in such language as he
might choose to employ at the time. As would inevitably happen under such
circumstances these traditions and charges gradually assumed a more or less stereotyped
form until at last, to make uniformity more certain, they were committed to writing.
The oldest manuscript form of the Old Charges now in existence, as I have already
noted, is that which was written by some unknown cleric somewhere near the year 1390;
it is known as the Regius, or Halliwell Manuscript, and is written in the form of doggerel
verse. Our next oldest copy is the Cooke, which was written early in the next century.
Many copies were made from these from time to time, and other versions of the Craft's
story were composed; through the labours of Brother W. J. Hughan, the great pioneer in
this field, and through the efforts of his successors, we now possess close on to a
hundred copies of these old documents.
Many copies of the Old Charges were in the hands brethren in the beginning of the
eighteenth century. When the Revival came, and outsiders began to probe into the secrets
of the Order, certain of these brethren, to guard against their falling into strange hands,
burned several of their manuscripts. Not all, however, were destroyed, and it appears
that an attempt to collate the Ancient Constitutions was made as early as 1719.
Shortly after the formation of Grand Lodge some members expressed dissatisfaction with
the existing Constitutions and Grand Master Montagu ordered Dr. James Anderson to
make a digest of all available manuscripts in order to draw up a better set of regulations -
the governance of the body. It is thought by some that it was Dr. Anderson himself who
first urged this on Montagu. A committee of fourteen “learned brethren” examined
Anderson's work and approved of it, except for a few amendments, and it was
accordingly published in the latter part of 1723. This Book of Constitutions “is still the
groundwork of Masonry” and stands to our jurisdictions very much as the Constitution of
the United States does to our nation.
Holding such a position it is fitting that the Book of Constitutions serve as a symbol in
the Third degree. Being, as it were, the title deed of our Fraternity it is much more than a
mere instrument of law, and links us on to the great past and binds us in an organic unity
to the generations of old builders who, in departing this life, left behind them so shining
a monument. As a symbol, therefore, the Book of Constitutions reminds us of our debt
to the past, of our solidarity with the vanished generations of kindly workmen, and of the
necessity of law and of seemly order if the Craft is to hold itself together in a world
where everything is always falling to pieces.
If the Tyler is set to guard the Book it is to remind us that secrecy and watchfulness must
ever be at hand to guard us against our enemies, for the Tyler is here introduced as a
symbol, rather than as an officer of the lodge. When the Craft first began to employ such
a sentinel we know not, nor can we be sure how the word itself originated. Some believe
that the first tyler was in reality a tyler, a brother employed to make roofs, himself a
member of one branch of the old travelling builders. Others think that, as the sentinel is
to protect the secrecy of the lodge, he was called tyler in a figurative sense since it is the
roof which conceals the interior of a building. Accepting such views for what they are
worth, and acknowledging the practical necessity for such a guardian, we may also see in
the Tyler, in the present connection, a reminder that each and every one of us must
become a watchman seeing to it that no influence shall undermine our organic law, and
that no enemies shall be permitted admittance to our fellowship. Every loyal Mason
must be a Tyler, watchful lest he recommend an unfit candidate, and careful lest in his
own person he admit such influences into the lodge as make for disunion and
disharmony. To keep off cowans and eavesdroppers, figurative and actual, is one great
duty of membership.
Cowan is a Scotch term. It was used in early Scotch Masonry in more than one sense but
seems originally to mean “a man who uses round unsquared stones for building
purposes, whether walls or huts”; in other words, the Cowan was originally an unskilled
Mason. Oftentimes a Cowan was loosely affiliated with the Craft but never given its
secrets for which reason he was often known as a “Mason without the word.” The term
was also employed to describe a non-affiliated skilled Mason, one who had unlawfully
obtained the secrets of the Craft.
The word was employed by English Masonry in the Grand Lodge period; Brother J.T.
Thoip believes it was, Dr. Desaguliers who first used it after his visit to Scotland in
1721; Brother Vibert believes it was imported by Dr. Anderson in 1723 or later. Be that
as it may the word found a permanent place in our vocabulary albeit with gradual
changes of meaning. Literally speaking, as the word is now employed, a Cowan is a man
with unlawful Masonic knowledge; an Intruder is one with neither knowledge or secrets
who makes himself otherwise obnoxious; a Clandestine is one who has been initiated by
unlawful means; an Irregular is one who has been initiated by a lodge working without
authorization. In all these senses a man is designated who makes use of the Fraternity in
an illegal or obnoxious manner, who uses Masonry for unMasonic puiposes. Manifestly
such men can not be kept out by the Tiler alone; every member must assist in this work
of the guardianship of the Order.
SWORD POINTING TO THE NAKED HEART
Mackey notes that in old initiation ceremonies, still preserved in some places, the
candidate found himself “surrounded by swords pointing at his heart, to indicate that
punishment would duly follow his violation of his obligation”; he suggests that in this
old ceremony we may find the origin of the present symbol which has been undoubtedly
introduced into our system by some modem ritualist, Thomas Smith Webb, perhaps.
This is a reasonable account of the matter and may be allowed to stand until further light
The Heart is here the symbol of conscience, the seat of man's responsibility for his own
acts; the Sword is the symbol of justice. The device therefore tells us that justice will at
last find its way to our inmost motives, to the most hidden recesses of our being. This
may sound trite enough but the triteness must not blind us to the profound tmth of the
For centuries men believed that God, the moral lawgiver, lived above the skies and dealt
with His children wholly through external instmments; agents of the law, calamities, and
physical punishments, these were considered the divine methods of justice. Holding
such a view of the matter it is of little wonder that men held themselves innocent until
punishment would come, or that justice could be avoided simply by staying clear of the
instmments of justice. In this wise morality came to be an external mechanical thing,
operating like a court of law.
But now we have a better understanding of the matter. The moral law, so we have
learned, is in our very hearts, and it is self-executing. Sin and punishment, as Emerson
says in his great essay on Compensation, a profoundly original and stimulating study of
the subject, sin and punishment grow from the same stem. Conscience, like the physical
body, is under a universal reign of law that swerves not by a hair's breadth. A man may
cherish an evil thought in some chamber of his soul almost outside the boundaries of his
own self-consciousness but such secrecy is of no avail; the law is in the secret places as
well as in the open, and always does the point of the sword rest against the walls of the
heart. The penalties of justice are unescapable because justice and conscience are of the
same root. And it is such a result of evil, we may again remind ourselves, that
constitutes almost the sole penalty for the violation of Masonic obligations.
TO AN IDOL
(Discovered in the ruins of Uxmal, Yucatan, Mexico)
BY BRO. FRIENCH SIMPSON, TEXAS
The Aeons roll on, empires rise, empires fall;
The dust of the centuries covers them all.
The gods who have preceded you, where are they?
Where too are the worshippers of you and your day?
Gone, gone to their long rest of light or of gloom,
Their ashes commingled with the ash of the tomb;
Dead and forgotten and their temples today
Are buried from sight, to the jungle a prey,
And you from your crumbling pedestal overthrown,
From a nod have lapsed back to a simple carved stone.
You have seen peoples pass in life's rapid race;
Seen your precursor fall as you rose to his place.
But sitting there now with no look of concern,
Indifferent to joy or to pain, cold and stern;
Not one to do reverence, none to claim for your own;
A sport for the curious, a god without throne,
Your ambiguous features seem striving to say:
Gods themselves are but mortal and mortals are clay.
As the old beliefs passed so will pass by the new,
And the truths of the Present the Future undo.
How then does one know, can one say: This is Truth?
Controverted each day are the dogmas of youth;
Times change but so prone is the throng to obey,
That the craft of the priest stands a bar to the way,
Demanding allegiance to the doctrine he pleads,
And with the time-wom old graft-slime taints the new creeds;
And millions bow now as millions knelt heretofore
And a-weary cry out and for blessings implore.
The gods look askant, - the gods make no reply,
Apathetic as You see their votaries die,
Still the dreamer upbuilds and the devotee yearns
With faith for an anchor incense freely burns.
Then as theory fails beneath the analyst's test,
The demonstrated fact leaves a heart in unrest.
And then as I look on that calm, cold, hard face,
Unruffled, impervious, of pity no trace;
I can feel that Thought moves and that such gods as you
Should die as you died, - hat the good and the true
Will live and grow better as the Ages sweep by;
In the bright light of reason falsehoods finally die.
And as the sunlight dispels the fogs of the sea,
Truth triumphant at last shall make all mankind free.
Think' st thou existence doth depend upon time ?
It doth; but actions are our epochs; mine
Have made my days and nights imperishable,
Endless, and all alike.
No really great man ever thought himself so.
THE GREATNESS OF GEORGE WASHINGTON*
BY BRO. CHARLES S. LOBINGIER, CHINA
* For leading articles concerning Washington's religion and his Masonic connections the
reader is referred to the following: “Alexandria- Washington Lodge No. 22,” THE
BUILDER, Vol. II, p. 35; “Washington, The Man and Mason,” Vol. II, p. 40; “The
Religion of George Washington,” Vol. IV, p. 35; “Washington's Masonic Connections,”
Vol. V,p. 116.
IT IS ALWAYS an advantage to begin with a proposition which no one disputes; and in
restricting my theme to “the greatness of Washington” I am hot unconscious of that
advantage. For upon few themes is there such an unanimity of oninion.
NON- AMERICAN TRIBUTES
I have, indeed, found no writer who questions his greatness; but the tributes of those who
were not of his people are so lofty that I need quote no others.
“How fares your countrymen, the great Washington?” Napoleon is said to have inquired of
some young Americans in France, about 1798.
On being told that he was well, Bonaparte continued:
“Ah, gentlemen ! Washington can never be otherwise than well. The measure of his fame
is full. Posterity will talk of him with reverence as the founder of a great empire, when
my name shall be lost in the vortex of Revolutions!” (1)
Several of Britain's foremost poets were Washington's contemporaries and at the same
time his ardent eulogists. Bums preceded him to the tomb by only three years, and two
years before the poet's death he wrote to his friend, Mrs. Dunlop, enclosing an ode written
especially for Washington's birthday, containing these lines:
“Behold that eye which shot immortal hate,
Braved usurpation's boldest daring;
That arm which, nerved with thundering fate,
Crushed the despot's proudest bearing;
One quenched in darkness like the sinking star,
And one the palsied arm of tottering powerless age.” (2)
Southey in 1814, during the now generally regretted second war between America and
“Not long may this unnatural strife endure,
Beyond the Atlantic deep!
Not long may men, with vain Ambition drunk,
And insolent in wrong
Afflict with their misrule the indignant land
Where Washington hath left
His awful memory
A light for after times.” (3)
But the most ardent poet panegyrist was Lord Byron. He was a boy of eleven when
Washington died and doubtless expresses the best English opinion of his day. And Byron'
works abound in references, of which I shall cite only a few, to our national hero. In
Childe Harold, after discoursing on Cromwell, whom he calls the “immortal rebel,” the
“Can tyrants but by tyrants conquer'd be,
And Freedom find no champion and no child
Such as Columbia saw arise when she
Sprung forth a Pallas, arm'd and undefded?
Or must such minds be nourish'd in the wild,
Deep in the unpruned forest, 'midst the roar
Of cataracts, where nursing Nature smiled
On infant Washington?” (4)
In Don Juan, Byron writes, in words quite applicable to the present hour:
“History can only take things in the gross;
But could we know them in detail, perchance
In balancing the profit and the loss,
War's merit it by no means might enhance,
To waste so much gold for a little dross,
As hath been done, mere conquest to advance.
The drying up a single tear has more
Of honest fame, than shedding seas of gore.
And such they are - and such they will be found:
Not so Leonidas and Washington,
Whose every battle-field is holy ground,
Which breathes of nations saved, not worlds undone.
How sweetly on the ear such echoes sound!
While the mere victor's may appal or stun
The servile and the vain, such names will be
A watchword till the future shall be free.” (5)
and again, from the same poem:
“Great men have always scorn'd great recompenses:
Epaminondas saved his Thebes, and died,
Not leaving even his funeral expenses:
George Washington had thanks and nought beside,
Except the all-cloudless glory (which few men's is)
To free his country.” (6)
We may close this brief anthology of British Washingtonian verse by quoting the
exquisite tribute of Canon Richard Wilton of York cathedral, which he sent with a
wreath for our hero's tomb on December 14, 1899, the centenary of his death:
“An English wreath we fain would lay
Upon this mighty tomb today,
Of laurel, ivy, oak, and yew,
Which drank the English sun and dew
On far-off Yorkshire's grassy sod,
Where once we boast his fathers trod
Whom East and West unite to praise,
And crown with never-fading bays.
“O Washington, thy symbol be
The oak for strength and constancy:
For grandeur and for grace of form,
For calmness in the stress and storm
The monarch of the forest thou.
To thee the generations bow,
And under thy great shadow rest,
Forever free, forever blest.
“And thine the laurel, for the fame
Illustrious of a conqueror's name-
Patient to wait and prompt to strike,
Intrepid, fiery, mild alike;
Great for the greatness of the foe
Which fell by thy repeated blow;
Great for thy country's greatness, won
By thee, her most beloved son.
“And as the ivy twines around
Cottage and tower, thy heart was found
Clinging to home and church and wife,
The sweeter for the finished strife;
And so thy memory, like the yew,
Will still be green to mortal view-
‘The greatness of good men' confest
By all, and of great men the best.”
Turning to prose writers, we find Edward A. Freeman, the great English Constitutional
historian, devoting one of his illuminating lectures (7) to “George Washington, the
Expander of England,” while Lecky, the Tacitus of eighteenth century England, says:
“Of all the great men in history he was the most invariably judicious, and there is scarcely
a rash word or action or judgment recorded of him.... It was always known by his friends,
and it was soon acknowledged by the whole nation and by the English themselves, that in
Washington America had found a leader who could be induced by no earthly motive to tell
a falsehood, or to break an engagement, or to commit any dishonorable act. Men of this
moral type are happily not rare, and we have all met them in our experience; but there is
scarcely another instance in history of such a man having reached and maintained the
highest position in the convulsions of civil war and of a great popular agitation." (8)
But perhaps the loftiest eulogy in prose is this by John Richard Green, the beloved
historian of the English people:
“No nobler figure ever stood in the forefront of a nation's life.... It was almost
unconsciously that men leamt to cling to Washington with a trust and faith such as few
others have won, and to regard him with a reverence which still hushes us in the presence
of his memory. Even America hardly recognized his real grandeur till death set its seal on
'the man first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.' “ (9)
ELEMENTS OF GREATNESS
But it is not sufficient for us to know that our hero was great; we should inquire into the
elements and particulars of his greatness. We naturally think of him as a military leader
and there are those who place him high in that role. Probably the fairest and fullest
account of the American Revolution is that of Sir George 0. Trevalyan, the nephew of
Lord Macaulay, - a book which merits careful reading on both sides of the Atlantic -
where we leam
“From Trenton onwards, Washington was recognized as a far-sighted and skillful general
all Europe over, - by the great military nobles in the Empress Catherine's court, by French
Marshals and Ministers, in the King's cabinet at Potsdam, at Madrid, at Vienna, and in
London. He had shown himself (said Horace Walpole) both a Fabius and a Camillus; and
his march through the British lines was allowed to be a prodigy of leadership.” (10)
Indeed Frederick the Great is said to have pronounced this “one of the most brilliant
achievements recorded in military annals.”
Nevertheless the stage was too small, the numbers engaged too few, and the opportunities
for grand strategy too limited, for the American Revolution to have produced a world
military genius. Had Washington's fame rested on that alone it could hardly have survived
the Napoleonic era.
Next we are apt to think of him in the role of a statesman - as President of the Federal
Constitutional Convention and later as the first Chief Magistrate of our republic.
Washington unquestionably did much to cement that union of the American colonies
which his foresight showed him was the great need of his day. But the instrument which
perfected that union was, both in conception and adoption, so largely the work of
Hamilton that his fame has eclipsed all others as the commanding genius of that mighty
As to the intellectual attainments of Washington we might even admit with Dean Vance
(11) that they were less than those of some of his contemporaries. George Washington
never strove to be learned or brilliant and he would have been the first to disclaim such
traits. The more we study him the clearer it becomes that the qualities which distinguished
him and brought immorfsl fsme were moral rather than intellectual!
That the intuition of our people has already sensed this appears from the tales which they
love to associate with Washington's boyhood. We are all familiar with the cherry tree
story and the youthful hero's unwillingness to lie out of the consequences of cutting it
down. Iconoclastic research has pronounced that story apocryphal (12) but some still
think of his “Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior” as original with him. They were
really taken by his tutor, the Rev. James Marye, from “a curious old French book” and
dictated to the youthful Washington who wrote them down in his exercise book. (13)
Still, though not his own composition in the true sense, they must have produced a real
impression on the mind of a boy of thirteen - perhaps the age when the influence of
suggestion is greatest. The child is father of the man, and it is not without significance
that the keynote of George Washington's career is found in this closing injunction of those
“Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.”
But the halo which history has placed around him has, to some extent, obscured the real
worth of the man. When we read these “Rules of Civility,” follow his great deeds in after
life and look upon his calm, placid countenance as portrayed by Gilbert Stuart, we almost
unconsciously think of him as a man who could do no wrong. But had he been such he
would not have deserved the homage of posterity. As a great analyst (14) of human
character has observed:
“The strong who resist allurement and the tyranny of sense and passion which the gods
have given to men as to animals are less deserving than the weak who struggle to
overcome. To fall and rise again is more heroic than by greater strength never to fall. To
sin and repent - to do wrong and make amends - are parts of a noble nature.”
Mark Twain's comment on the cherry tree legend embodies a serious truth. The youthful
Washington is represented as having told his irate sire when confronted with the fallen
tree: “Father, I cannot lie; I did it with my hatchet.” Mark claimed superiority for he
declared “I can lie, but I won't,” and that attitude is far more characteristic of the real
No, our first President was neither faultless nor free from temptation and it was precisely
as he overcame the latter, and thus avoided dangers which might have wrecked a noble
career, that his greatness developed.
Like most great characters he was a man of deep and strong emotions and one of his
congenital defects was a fiery temper. The subjection of that unruly member was a task to
which he seems to have set himself early in life and he could hardly have failed to receive
aid from certain of his “Rules of Civility” such as the following:
“In reproving show no Signs of choler, but do it with sweetness and mildness. (18)
Use no reproachful language against any one, neither curse nor revile. (22)
Think before you speak.” (40)
That he gradually succeeded in making these maxims a part of his own character is evident
from the type of man as revealed by his contemporaries. But now and then throughout his
life, incidents occur amid sore trial, which deserve to be recorded because, if for no other
reason, they disclose that the once violent temper, though curbed, was not extinguished,
and that eternal vigilance was his only safeguard.
During the retreat from Long Island at the end of August, 1776, Washington had spent
several days and nights largely in the saddle and without sleep. Inexcusable delays and
blunders by his men had nearly frustrated the masterly maneuver by which he transferred
across the East River, under cover of a foggy night, an entire army from its camp within
hearing distance of the enemy. And as he stood on the heights of the Manhattan side, and
the last ragged continental scrambled leisurely and gramblingly up the steep, the tired soul
of the Commander-in-Chief could no longer contain itself and burst forth in a torrent of
anguish and exasperation which astonished those who had known him as a model of
Again at the battle of Monmouth on that memorable June 28, 1778, when one of his
generals, Charles Lee, had recklessly ordered an unnecessary retreat from a strategic
position, Washington rode swiftly to the scene and sent the offender from the field with a
tongue lashing which is said (16) to have “fairly frightened” the spectators even amid the
din of battle.
Once more after he was President a catastrophe occurred which stirred the deeps of that
volcanic nature. General Arthur St. Clair, who had been given command of an expedition
against the Indians of the northwest in 1791, was surprised and defeated on November 4 of
that year, losing nearly half his army on the banks of the Miami. Washington, who knew
well from experience the ways of Indian warfare, had especially enjoined him to “beware
of a surprise,” and when the disgraced general returned, his reprimand from the President
was hardly less severe than that given Lee thirteen years before.
But in none of these instances was it questioned that the provocation was great and the
chastisement merited. The sole occasion for suiprise was the sudden exhibition of an
unsuspected phase of Washington’s character. And that this was in the main well under
control is evident from his calm and dignified bearing under the continued strain of
ingratitude, injustice and even calumny.
It is difficult for us of this generation to conceive of any American being unjust or
ungrateful to “the father of his country.” But we are too prone to judge his contemporaries
by a few great names which have come down to us. There were little men also - scheming
self-seekers whose motives were too base, or whose vision was too narrow, to permit them
to appreciate the lofty merits of their leader. We have only to cite the wretched “Conway
cabal,” hatched while Washington and his army were in the throes of that terrible winter at
Valley Forge, and whose object was to supplant the commander-in-chief with the
intriguing Gates. (17) Bancroft expresses the well nigh universal conviction in declaring
that “but for him the country could not have achieved its independence.” One would have
supposed that at least after it had been achieved the hostile tongues would cease. But such
a view ignores the nature of that venomous reptile - the character assassin.
Like all of our second term Presidents, Washington became in the later years of his
administration, the target of partisan rancour and when he signed the Jay treaty with Great
Britain, in 1794, the opposition raised a storm of criticism and abuse (18) that, for a time,
seemed to obliterate the memories of his magnificent services to the nation.
But through it all he was outwardly calm and imperturbable. No public utterance escaped
him of the indignation he felt at the imputations of those petty partisans; although he
confessed privately that “he would rather be in his grave than suffer the treatment he
received at the hands of those he was doing his best to serve.” He sufficiently appreciated
the dignity of his great office never to stoop to a reply. And in his bearing during those
times of trial he gave the best demonstration that he had practically conquered his unruly
temper and earned the scriptural encomium: “He that ruleth his own spirit is greater than
he that taketh a city.”
COURAGE AND FIRMNESS
And out of the years of discipline which thus produced self mastery came other and
kindred virtues. The fierce opposition to the Jay treaty did not result in changing his
attitude. He maintained it courageously and firmly even to the extent of refusing the
request of the lower House of Congress for the correspondence and other papers relating to
the treaty. (19) In the end the House, by a majority of three, sustained him, the treaty went
into effect and time has vindicated his position. (20)
The same consistency and devotion to principle were observed in less important matters.
During the operations around New York Lord Howe sent, under a flag of truce, a letter
addressed to “George Washington, Esquire.” It was returned unopened, not from any sense
of pique or vanity, but because he considered that he could negotiate only as
Generalissimo of the Continental forces and, as he reported to Congress, he “deemed it his
duty towards his country to insist upon a mark of respect which, as an individual, he would
willingly have waived." (21)
Shortly after he was inaugurated as President he made an official tour of New England and
while in Massachusetts was invited to dine with the Governor, John Hancock, who,
however had failed first to call on the President. Hancock had presided over the first
Continental Congress and as such became the original signer of the Declaration of
Independence. But Washington realized that the delicate question of the new Federal
government's supremacy was involved and that precedents were being established. He
therefore declined the invitation, courteously but firmly, and in the end the Governor
yielded and paid the first call. (22)
But probably the supreme mark of Washington's greatness was the entire absence,
throughout his career, of self-seeking. Had he consulted his personal interests he would
hardly have espoused the Revolution at all. He was a well to do country gentleman, of
aristocratic birth, with thousands of broad acres in Virginia and twenty thousand more
along the Ohio. (23) His natural sympathies were thus clearly with the existing order; why
should he seek to overthrow it? Certainly not to escape an insignificant stamp tax.
As in other questions he made the decision upon principle. Through years of reflection the
conviction had been forced upon him that a colonial regime as then administered was
inimical to the progress and welfare of his country. (How different might have been the
sequel could he have been assured of a status like that of Canada today!) With his
colleagues he tried other means of securing a change and accepted the gage of battle only
as a dernier resort.
The post of Commander-in-Chief was also forced upon him and in accepting it he set a
new standard of public duty in these words:
“I beg leave to assure the Congress that as no pecuniary compensation could have tempted
me to accept this arduous employment, I do not wish to make any profit from it. I will
keep an exact account of my expenses. Those, I doubt not, they will discharge, and that is
all I desire.” (24)
As time went on and public funds became scarcer he is said to have drawn on his own
purse to meet the needs of the army and even to have mortgaged his property for that
“In choosing men to serve his country,” an early biographer informs us, “Washington
knew no recommendation but merit - had no favorite but worth. No relations, however
near - no friends, however dear - stood any chance for places under him, provided he knew
men better qualified. Respecting such men, he never troubled himself to inquire whether
they were foreigners or natives, federalists or democrats. . . . Indeed, his great soul was so
truly republican, that, during the whole of his administration, he was never known to
advance an individual of his own name and family.” (25)
The same author bears testimony to the high character of Washington's military selections
by quoting the complaint of certain young officers (who had failed to receive promotion as
they expected because they were from the chiefs native state), that “it was a misfortune to
be a Virginian.”
It is in the adoption of such lofty standards, “proving his country's good his only end,” that
George Washington occupies a plane far above so many of the world's famous military
and political leaders who were not great enough to rise above self.
* * *
Yes, Washington was great and his was essentially a moral greatness. He was
“Great, not like Caesar stained with blood
But only great as he was good.”
And so we may close with Byron again:
“Where shall the wearied eye repose
When gazing on the great?
Where neither guilty glory glows
Nor unrelenting hate?
The first, the last, the best
The Cincinnatus of the West.
To make man blush there was but one
Bequeathed the name of Washington.”
(1) Weems, Life of Washington (Mt. Vernon ed.), 9.
(2) Burns' Works, Chambers' Ed., IV, 83.
(3) Southey's Works (London, 1838), III, 221.
(4) Canto IV, stanza XCVI.
(5) Canto VIII, stanzas III, IV, V.
(6) Canto IX, stanza VIII.
(7) At Oxford, Feb. 22, 1886; reprinted in his “Greater Greece and Greater Britain.”
(8) A History of England in the Eighteenth Century, Ch. XI.
(9) History of the English People, 754, 755.
(10) The American Revolution (1903), Pt. II, Vol. II, 155.
(1 1) Address at Minnesota University Law School, Feb. 22, 1913.
(12) It first appeared in the Weems biography long after Washington's death and when
the usual time had elapsed for myths to grow. The Nation, XCIV, 436; also for March
(13( Hill, On the Trail of Washington (1912), 15. The original is among the archives in
the State Department at Washington.
(14) Albert Pike.
(15) Goodrich, History of the United States, 212.
(16) Chill, On the Trail of Washington (1912), 188, 189. Lee was afterwards court
martialled for his offense and suspended. Marshall, Life of Washington (1850), I, 257.
(17) Elson, History of the United States (1904), 263, 284.
(18) Id., 358; Marshall, Life of Washington (1850), II, 370 et seq.
(20) Id., 359.
(21) Trevelyan, The American Revolution, Part II, Vol. I, 278.
(22) Hill, On the Trail of Washington (1912), 260, 261.
(23) Elson, History of the United States (1904), 375.
(24) Hill, On the Trail of Washington (1912), 99.
(25) Weems, Life of Washington (Mt. Vernon ed.), 274, 275.
— o —
Though man a thinking being is defined,
Few use the grand prerogative of mind.
How few think justly of the thinking few!
How many never think, who think they do.
- Jane Taylor
OBLIGATIONS AND OATHS
BY BRO. H.R. PARTLOW, ARKANSAS
THE MASONIC obligation has always been to the writer a subject of considerable
interest, especially on account of the various positions assumed by the obliger at the time
of taking the obligation, and the formalities incident to it which, in my opinion, bespeak
for the obligation a greater antiquity than usually accorded it by historians and writers.
Even a cursory view of the subject of entering into a contractual relation from ancient
times shows that the obligations assumed to be binding were entered into in accordance
to the ceremonial form of that age, and if entered into in that way were considered by the
ancients inviolate. History abounds with many instances evidencing this, but for
numerous cases we have only to go into the field of religious and legal literature.
Biblical and judicial records are the deposits left by the receding waters of time and an
examination of the laws and customs of these remote ages shows a general unfolding and
development of civilization. True it is that the data found are not separately and clearly
set forth, but may be compared to the residue of the seashore, scattered and wholly
without order, some buried in sand and foreign matter, while others are entirely
concealed except to the keen vision of the delving student who by patience and skill will
exhume them, thereby revealing them to the superficial observer.
The writer is fully aware that the average Mason has but little interest in such matters,
but a close study of the customs of the ancients will shed much light upon certain
customs now used in our ritual or floor work in conferring degrees. If by any means we
can determine the inception of these early formalities, the basal ideas leading up to them,
and the possible psychological functioning which produced them they will, in my
opinion, be invaluable. These rudimentary ideas are to the Masonic student what the
primary crusts of the earth are to the geologist. They contain all the forms which society
has subsequently exhibited.
In the matter of ascertaining the fountain head of the jural conception of an oath,
obligation, or contract, one may become lost in the impenetrable night of antiquity. Mr.
Holmes, in his admirable work on Common Law, says: "To explain how mankind first
learned to promise, we must go to metaphysics and find out how it came to frame a
future tense." Law, like religion, is co-eval with intelligence and so soon as man was
capable of continuity of thought, so soon as he found intelligible speech, he questioned
himself concerning his relationship to other sentient beings. Therefore, by way of a
premise, it may be said that whenever and wherever we have found man we find
exhibition of certain characteristics which are common to other peoples in the same stage
The force and effect of an oath or obligation in ancient days was much greater than it is
today, for the reason that the Higher Power was presumed to be present and to participate
in the transaction as a third party. This was especially so in making of covenants which
were accompanied by a sacrifice and other solemn formalities in addition to the oath
calling upon the ever present Deity to witness.
In the procedure of entering into obligations or of taking oaths one is impressed first with
the universal use of the light hand. It is a singular coincidence that so many people are
right handed, and we shall now consider the use of the right hand in entering into various
obligations and draw some conclusions regarding its almost universal use.
The right hand has been held forever sacred. The origin of such belief is a profound
mystery. Much importance was attached to it in worship as well as in entering into
various contractual relations.
A study of the formal contract in early English law rewards the student for the pains of
his investigation; and for the puipose of giving to the reader the benefit of this we quote
at some length from Pollock and Maitland's History of English Law:
"In many countries of Western Europe and in this part of the world also, we find the
mutual grasp of the hand as a form which binds a bargain. It is possible to regard this as
a relic of a more elaborate ceremony by which some material was passed from hand to
hand; but the mutuality of the hand grip seems to make against this explanation. We
think it more likely that the promisor proffered his name of himself and for the puipose
of devoting himself to the god or goddess, if he broke faith. Expanded in words, the
underlying idea would be of this kind, 'As I here deliver myself to you by my right hand,
so I deliver myself to the wrath of Fides, or Jupiter acting by the ministry of Fides, if I
break faith in this thing.'
"Whether the Germans have borrowed this symbolic act from the Roman provincials and
have thus taken over a Roman practice along with Fides, or whether it has an
independent root in their own heathen religion we will not dare to decide. However, the
grasp of the hand appears among them at an early date as a mode of contracting solemn,
if not legally binding, obligations."
In the Code of Justinian the formality of raising the right hand was necessary in taking an
oath. Then we find from the two great sources of law, Roman and English, that more
importance is attached to the right hand than to the left.
Among primitive races, such as the Dacotah, the Winebagoes and other Western tribes,
the right hand as a symbol has been observed by more than one person. As a symbol of
fidelity and virtue the right hand is repeatedly referred to in Hebrew lore.
Abraham said to the King of Salem: "I have lifted up my hand unto the Lord, the most
High God, the possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take anything that is thine."
The expression, "lifted up my hand unto the Lord," doubtless proves the custom of the
ancient Hebrews in placing the right hand upon the object of veneration in entering into a
contract or binding obligations, and if such object could not be touched, the right hand
was extended toward the thing of reverence with hand open and fingers extended. The
right hand of fellowship is spoken of by St. Paul in Gallatioans (Gallatian 2, chap. 9). In
Psalms, 94th chapter, the right hand is spoken of as "the right hand of falsehood."
The manner of using the right hand is a symbol of fidelity, imposed in primitive times
the loss of that member in cases of breaches of faith. Pollack and Maitland, in their work
on English Law, in speaking of the German people say, "Germanic law is fond of
characteristic punishment. It likes to take the tongue of the false accuser and the
perjurer's right hand."
Port in his Early History and Antiquities of Preemasonry, says:
"Oaths were also attested by water, fountains and streams, by rocks, cliffs and stones -
the latter sometimes white, but the most sacred and binding obligations were made upon
a blue stone altar. Ancient Norsemen swore upon Thor's hammer. It was no unusual
thing for a person to formerly attest an oath by the beard, hair, and eyes, or with the hand
upon vestments. A judicial obligation was administered by touching the judge's staff of
office, and by some reason warriors swore by the sword; also, other people, in less
exciting spheres of domestic life, used household furniture. For examples travellers
grasped the wagon wheel, and horsemen their stirrups; sailors rested the hand upon the
ship's railing. Operative Masons, or stonecutters of the Middle Ages perpetuated the
Scandinavian custom of swearing upon common utensils and used their tools in the
solemn formality of an obligation - a usage adhered to by the modem craft.
"The right hand was considered indispensable in medieval oaths, to seize or to touch the
consecrated objects. Frequently the hand was upraised in order to bring it in contact with
the material object sworn by, and at the same time kneeling, divested of hat and weapon,
was an essential element in the ceremony of assuming an oath."
Why was it necessary to touch or to be in contact with some sacred object? This is a
pertinent question. The possible explanation may be found in the doctrine of deodands in
ancient English Common Law. This doctrine generally recognized that in case of an
injury inflicted by an inanimate object, such as a wagon wheel, tree or other object of
similar kind, a portion of the punishment or damage was to award the injured with the
object, the cause of the injury. Man from the remotest times has attributed life, spirit or
being to inanimate objects, therefore, swearing upon these inanimate objects is doubtless
for no other puipose than to call upon some object to be a witness to this obligation.
From the fact that man has attributed life to inanimate objects, creating and vesting them
with certain characteristics common to mankind, naturally thought about the necessity of
giving them sex. Hence it is probable that this is the explanation why in most languages
we find masculine and feminine gender indiscriminately applied to inanimate objects.
The explanation is to be found in the doctrine of animism and not in poetic license as is
often given by grammarians.
The frequent use of the right hand - and one can cite instance after instance of its use of
entering into obligations, such as in marriage contracts, uplifted right hand in the taking
of an oath - naturally arouses one's enthusiasm to investigate the probable cause. Brother
Mackey cites instance after instance of its use in worship, such as keeping the right side
to the altar in going around the altar. Sir Walter Scott gives an instance in his novel, The
Pirate, of the young people who assembled in far off Norseland and joined right hands
through a circular aperture at the base of an upright rock and plighted their faiths to the
god Odin. G. Stanley Hall makes some interesting remarks when he says:
"There are many facts which seem to suggest that in adolescence the right hand precedes
the left, and is not usually quite overtaken, so that the predominance is greater after
puberty. If this be so the relation of the two hands in man is somewhat analogous to the
relation between the male and female body in muscular development."
Scientists say the grip of the right hand exceeds in strength by one-sixth to one-eighth
that of the left hand. Smedley has observed that there is an analogy between unidexterity
and the development of the voice.
Here let us pause and ask two questions: First, Are we right-handed because of the long
continued use of the right hand in worship and in assuming obligations thereby creating a
physiological condition or anatomical condition as a result of constant exercise or
precedence of the right hand? Second, Is the preference given to the right hand due to the
disparity in development between the two hands as is pointed out by the scientist in the
The delivery of possession of a piece of land was performed, says Digby, in the
"Speaking generally it must be the delivery of something, such as a clod, earth or twig on
the land in the name of whole. Great importance was attached to the notoriety of the
transaction. That all the neighbours might know that A was tenant to B from the fact that
open livery of seisen had been made to him. This would enable him to assert his rights
in case of disputes to the title of lands."
Another instance may be cited from Littleton Coke's translation:
"When a freeholder does fealty to his lord he shall hold his right hand on a book and
shall say this: 'Know ye this, my lord, that I shall be faithful and true unto you and faith
to you shall bear for the lands which I claim to hold of you and that I shall lawfully do to
you the custom and service while I ought to do, at the terms assigned, so help me God
and his Saints. And he shall kiss the book."
In further substantiation of formalities in assuming obligations we wish here to refer to
some peculiar marriage customs. One of the most peculiar of these customs was known
as "Smock-marriages" or "Marriage in Shift." Under the common law the husband
became at marriage liable for the antenuptial debts of his wife as well as the successor to
her property rights. One counteracted the other. Now the theory that the husband could
escape the liability of the antenuptial debts of his wife possibly created or brought about
A smock-marriage was one where the debtor bride came to the wedding dressed in a
smock or shift, which was a public declaration to her creditors that she took no property
to her husband as a basis of charging him with her debts. A number of instances are
reported in the New England States where the bride was secluded in a closet and joined
right hands, through an aperture of the door with the bridegroom until the ceremony was
said, and later appeared well dressed. Alice Morse Earle, in her Customs of Old New
England, refers frequently to this unique custom.
In ancient days trial by battle was attended by the usual formality of joining right hands
before the trial of strength, a custom still preserved in the prize fight.
Numerous examples might be cited from the Bible but this is not deemed necessary here
as it would simply expand this article and add nothing to its value or proof.
The Prince of Wales in taking his coronation oath lays his right hand upon the Bible, for
it is the object of veneration or sacredness.
The formality of removing the shoes is one of the oldest customs and doubtless had its
origin among the people of the Far East, especially the Hebrews. We find Moses upon
his approach to the burning bush removed his shoes for the reason that the ground on
which he stood was sacred. It is a custom of the people of the East upon approaching a
sacred place to remove the shoes or to uncover the feet, but among the Western people
the head is uncovered. The fact of discalceation proves beyond doubt that the person
taking the oath regards the Deity as present and participating as a third party to the
ceremony. Among the Jewish people it was considered a sign of renunciation of
dominion or authority to remove the shoes.
Linder the Mosaic law the brother of a childless man was bound to marry his widow and
until he renounced his right, she could not marry another. If refused the woman was
obliged to loose his shoes from off his feet and spit before his face as an assertion of
complete her complete independence.
Edward J. White in his Legal Antiquities says:
"That this custom was later used by the early Christians would seem to be confirmed by
the story connected with the proposal of the Emperor Vladimir to the daughter of
Raguald, for when asked if she would not marry the Emperor she replied: 'I will not take
off my shoes to the son of a slave.'"
In the early Saxon days when marriage was completed the father of the bride took off her
shoes and handed them to the bridegroom. Wood's Wedding Day in All Ages says that
Martin Luther, the great reformer, used the shoe in his ceremony.
Bending the knee has in all ages of the world's history been considered as an act of
humility and reverence. Pliny, the Roman naturalist, observes that a certain degree of
religious reverence is attributed to the knee of man. Solomon prayed upon bended knee
at the consecration of the temple.
These customs show beyond doubt that in taking the obligation the candidate is assumed
to be in the presence of the Deity and that his obligation is entered into with that ever
The last point we desire to make is that an obligation once assumed was by ancient
peoples considered inviolable, and could not be set aside or held for naught. One reason
for this was because every act of the promisor contemplated the presence of the Deity
and according to the customs of that age due preparations had been made looking to the
entering into of the obligations.
It would be a great blessing in this modem age if more of the initiates in entering into the
obligation could or would consider it more as the ancients did, a solemn and binding
obligation, - one taken in the presence of Him who can search the inner recesses of the
heart and knows our purposes and designs. If that were true we would have better
It is a matter of regret to every man practising law how easily men extend their right
hand toward their Creator and perjure themselves. This is done because many of them
regard an oath as an empty string of words with no binding effect whatsoever. Let us as
Masons make more of our obligations and try to impress upon the initiate the fact that a
broken pledge with the brethren is attended with serious consequences and is looked
upon with displeasure by Him who takes notice of the falling of the sparrow.
BY BRO. FRANK C. HICKMAN, MICHIGAN
However dark the way,
Thou must not fear.
Thou cannot go astray
For God is near.
So forward look ye not
Nor yet behind;
But rather look ye out
At passing time.
He leads thee every day,
No matter where,
And watches all the way
And keeps it clear.
Be porter at the door
Of present thought,
Want in one day not more
Than has been brought.
He greets thee in the mom
When thou awake,
The earth He soon made warm
For thy dear sake.
For God serves well His own
And that thou art
And when the truth is known,
Fear will depart.
He gives thee strength to do Remember thou art free
Thy daily lot, If thou but knew
And every need meets too, No error can agree
Naught is forgot. With love that's true.
And each day's needs are met
No loneliness can live
As it appears,
The morrow is not yet
Within thine heart,
If freely thou wilt give
What is thy part.
Nor can the yesterday
Put in a claim,
For when it was “today”
Its fullest came.
And happiness and peace
And life and love ne'er cease
Happy is the man, and happy he alone,
He, who can call today his own:
He who, secure within, can say,
Tomorrow, do thy worst, for I have liv'd today.
For then thou serve the love
That is thy life,
And blessings from above
Dissolve all strife.
THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL
SIR OLIVER LODGE has written a little book dealing with the immortality of the soul.
It is a grand, definite pronouncement of the belief of a man of science. Not long ago we
heard a noted Christian Scientist discourse upon the subject of cremation. Quite
frequently did he allude to the "mortal body." These references recalled to our mind the
book by Lodge wherein the human body is likened unto a house whose tenant is the
soul. As a minister it has often been our duty to officiate at the burial of those who had
been loved dearly and who were keenly mourned. We, too, have lost friends and dear
ones whom we loved. Gazing upon that which has come to be in our minds the tenement
of clay, we could never persuade outself that the one stricken and cold before us was he
whom we had loved. It was to us a house sadly bereft of a tenant.
Not long ago there came to our attention a very helpful little volume containing a vivid
picture of a house by the side of the road, which had for a very long time been
untenanted. It was in a most dilapidated condition. Its windows were broken, its fences
decayed and its doors sagged on their hinges. Then came a day when a man of beautiful
spirit made it his home, and it became suddenly transformed. Its paths were well-kept,
the fences repaired, new paint and new windows added to its splendor. Roses bloomed
around it, birds sang and joy abounded.
Thus is the paradoxical reflection of human life. There is beauty, joy - all things that
bespeak life - when the body is the tenement of the soul. But the soul having vanished,
and the ruthless hand of time having begun its disintegrating work, no art of the
embalmer can make us to feel that the body that was once warm with human life is
anything more than a house of clay.
The eternal theme agitating the eternally curious in man is, "If a man die, shall he live
again?" In a little work by the late Dr. Momerie we may read that "the greatest thinkers
in all ages - men like Plato, Hagel, Goethe - have invariably believed in immortality.
Many others, not so great, but great enough to overawe multitudes - men like Haeckel,
Clifford and Huxley - have denied, or at any rite, doubted it. Whither has flown that
which animated the mortal man?"
There have been good men, no doubt, who have lived good lives without hope of
immortality - that hope which seems to be in the lives of most men, which has been there
since ever man began to think - the thing to which he instinctively ascribed belief.
In a recnt issue of "The Chrisitan Century" there appeared an article under the caption,
Can a Scientist be a Christian? A Frenchman seems to have made an analysis of the
religious belief of some four hundred and thirty-two men of science. "Of this number
there were thirty-four concerning whose religious position he had been unable to secure
any information. Fifteen confessed themselves indifferent or agnostic, sixteen were
atheists, while the remaining three hundred and sixty-seven made a profession of
From among the very men who have hitherto been regarded as the bulwarks of unbelief
we discover that the great majority are believers in religion - and religion as it is
conceived of in the mind of the Freemason admits of but one dogma and proclaims but
one hope. That hope is the belief in immortality.
If we are to attach any symbolical significance to the great drama of the Third degree, it
must be attached as the setting forth of an imperishable idea that there is immortality for
the soul. It would, indeed, be no misnomer to say that Freemasonry conceives of the
soul as immortal. The Christian Apostle conceived of man as being most miserable were
he devoid of immortality. Who cannot share in the feelings of Emerson, when
inconsolable over the loss of his son he gave utterance to the beautiful lines of his
Threnody. It is a visitant from God from a world beyond.
Our own Joseph Fort Newton, probably our wisest and best Masonic seer in this country
today, is forever impressing upon our minds the fact that we are citizens of two worlds.
We have long been persuaded that men had their particular province in which they
labored, and of which they seemed to be the authoritative spokesman. For one to leam
the things of the material universe he should seek out those who have specialized in
learning its nature. The biologist, the physicist and the chemist can answer certain things
almost conclusively for us this day, and perhaps it would be wise for us to reaffirm that
our greatest knowledge of things spiritual - God and immortality - may best be derived
from those who have lived in consciousness of them.
The mystic, the philosopher, the scientist - each his his field of labor, and we may best
leam the lesson that each has to tell of his discoveries, from him who is best qualified to
speak. Freemasonry has apprehended the wisdom of this course from time immemorial.
We know that there are races of men who have no conception of immortality, but these
are very remote cases. The more enlightened the races the more reliable do we find a
man's feeling, opinion or judgment to be.
The conception of immortality is bom of something more than merely the dreams of
man, yet were the intensification of this conception but the result of the dream of
primitive man, in which the Indian saw for himself a paradise of bliss, hunting with dogs;
the Norseman his Valhalla; the ancient Hebrew his abode of gold, this would in no wise
invalidate the belief that such dreams were but instruments, providentially intended to
enlighten man as to his ultimate immortal destiny.
To offer to man such immortality as is allied to our general conception of the
indestmctibility of the primal element that goes to make up life would be to offer him
something for which we would find him generally unwilling to thank us.
Happily, our Masonic conception, as embodied in ritual in its beautiful simplicity, hope
and faith, satisfies the instinctive craving. Bryant, in his Water Fowl, is a surer guide -
and certainly more helpful - than those whose pantheism simply admits man at last to
that all-pervading potency where his own identity is lost forever.
A brilliant writer of some years ago pictured a primitive man standing shivering before a
foe. Death was staring him in the face. "Then it was that his thoughts turned to those
wolf children of the cave whom he had left with the mother behind, and the hope of
immortality was there born." We must confess that it is attaching greater rationalizing
qualities to apply such to a primitive cave man, unless we admit the possible projection
of instinct at that moment, to assure him that in dying he was not losing them forever.
But something akin to this belief must agitate the thoughts of every human being who
has loved, and who has clasped to his bosom those whom he loved, and who has wept
and hoped as earth earth receded for them and their spirits took flight to the realm
Infinite, then, in its comfort, is the teaching of our Masonic ritual, for it bespeaks the
assuring word when wild grief distracts and the earth is blackened, through its
imperishable pronouncement, "And so, trusting in the infinite love and tender mercy of
Him, without whose knowledge not even a sparrow falls, let us prepare to meet them
where there is no parting, and where, with them, we shall enjoy eternal rest."
- Robert Tipton
EDITED BY BRO. ROBERT TIPTON
WHEN WE are told that our times are degenerate, and find so much to warrant such a
conclusion - though we would not subscribe to a thought that there were no ameliorating
features - we are provoked to pronounce such a story as “Tom Brown's School Days” one
of breed, blood, and spirit.
The other evening we took down the “Memoir of a Brother,” by the same author, Thomas
Hughes. A more charming picture, depicting the strong man of power, the type of fine
English gentleman, we have rarely read. We wondered, during our reading, whether the
idealism of our times - granting that we have an idealism, despite the unideal way of the
great majority's living - was not inferior to the idealism of that early Victorian period when
the Hughes boys went to the celebrated school of Rugby. No finer relationship could
possibly be than that described as existing between the fine country squire, the father, and
his son George, as it is revealed in their letters. We sense in their reading, too, what must
have been the letters of the great schoolmaster, Arnold, and throughout theil perusal we
are conscious of moving on a high plane where conduct is eternally actuated by the noblest
and truest of motives.
Our heartiest expression in regard to this father's dealings with his sons would be that we
feel if any father ever dealt wisely with his sons, the father of the Hughes boys did so. Dr.
Arnold on one occasion had written Hughes, senior, regarding the failure of George
Hughes to do his duty as praeposter. Some unfortunate peddler had brought his wares
within the Rugby grounds and the mischievous element had proceeded to rob him of them
and set up some images he sold, for to shy at. It was, of course, a flagrant breach of
disciplinary requirements and young Hughes should have reported the affair. Howsoever,
this was not done. This failure of duty caused him to be restrained from attendance at
Rugby the last half of his last year there. As a result of correspondence which passed
between Dr. Arnold and Mr. Hughes, senior, we sense how the lad endeavored to vindicate
himself, and the rejoinder of Mr. Hughes to his son contains the following:
“Now, it is impossible for me to enter into the exact merits of the case at a distance; and
possibly I may not be inclined to see it in all its details with the eye of a zealous
schoolmaster; but, as you are now of a thinking age, I will treat the matter candidly to you,
as a man of the world and a man of business, in which capacities I hope to see you
efficient and respected in the course of a few years. Your own conduct seems to be
gentlemanly and correct. Very good; this is satisfactory as far as it goes. But clearly, by the
regulations of the school, you have certain duties to perform, the strict execution of which
may in some cases be annoying to your own feelings, and to that esprit de coips which
always exists among boys. Nevertheless they must be performed, whose young men who
have a reai regard for the character of their school, which all of you are ready enough to
stickle for when you get outside its walls, must not allow it to become a mere blackguard
bear-garden, and to stink in the nostrils of other public schools, by tolerating, in those they
are expected to govern, such things as they would not do themselves. When you grow a
little older you will soon perceive that there is no situation in life worth having, and
implying any respect, where more firmness is not continually required, and unpleasant
duties are to be performed.”
Such, indeed, indicates to us the marvelous cooperativeness of an older generation with
school authorities, in the subject of discipline of their pupils and students.
Another feature of this remarkable Memoir indicates the great business of the school as
interpretated by great, patriotic schoolmasters. Speaking of the great schoolmaster's
political proclivities, the author of the Memoir goes on to say:
“I am not conscious, indeed I do not believe, that Arnold's influence was ever brought to
bear directly on English politics, in the case even of those boys who (like my brother and
myself) came specially under it, in his own house, and in the sixth form. What he did for
us was, to make us think on the politics of Israel, and Rome, and Greece, leaving us free to
apply the lessons he taught us in these, as best we could, to our own country.”
And in compliment to this we sense the real essence of Arnold's teaching in the following:
“Again, though Arnold's life influenced him quite as powerfully as it did me, it was in
quite a different direction, strengthening specially in him the reverence for national life,
and for the laws, traditions, and customs with which it is interwoven, and ot which it is the
expression. Somehow, his natural dislike to change, and preference for the old ways,
seemed to gain as much strength and nourishment from the teaching and example of our
old master, as the desire and hope for radical reforms did in me.”
The Memoir, indeed, makes stimulating reading; it causes a deep hunger for a
reconsecration to the older idealism. It sensed in the great institution for the training of
youth, not a place where preparation for life, interpreted in terms of what future pursuit
one may desire to follow, but in vital relationship to the maintenance of national ideals,
customs and traditions. It is the sort of nationalism that enables men to grow strong,
manly, and righteous; it is the education in which the secular and religious are
complimentary, and in which the church exists as a dynamic, influencing men in right
living. The Memoir of a brother is worthy of resurrection for quiet perusal during long
winter evenings. It will give a sense of the necessity of solidity during these transitory
* * *
During a recent trip to New York we chanced to visit the region known as Chinatown. Our
visit was not the first, but this time was occasioned by a desire to see just what Chinatown
looked like after the passing of the eighteenth amendment. Our observation distinguished
but little difference, save that the barrooms were not running as in days of yore.
On our visit to the joss house which was through a dark and odorous hallway, we passed a
door with the inscription, “Freemasons,” upon it. If we had been obedient to the curious
instinct, we would at once have sought admission, but those restraining mandates
pertaining to association with clandestines made us keep within our bounds. Thus it came
about that we began to glean in our library for those things which would enlighten us; not
so much about their Freemasonry after all, as about the Chinese people themselves, who
comprise almost a third of the human race. We would not like to confess to an absolute
ignorance of their customs and way of living, for we were in some degree acquainted with
them, but it was a gratifying task to us to make a more thorough perusal of the information
relative to those people.
Our reading to this end served, in no inconsiderable measure, to enhance our respect for
them, and as a Mason, aware of the sublime principle of toleration inculcated in our Order,
it was likewise pleasing to leam that there were certain things about the Chinese which we
perhaps had once observed, but in our busy rush had forgotten, and which we would do
well to both emulate and imitate. Of their practice of Religious Toleration we read in the
volume on Ancient China in the Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East:
“The general tolerance, and even welcoming, of new religious ideas has been such that,
when China was opened to the world less than a century ago, we found that Christian sects
had persisted there through all the Dark Ages of Europe, and that Jewish communities
were still existing, the date of whose coming into the land was lost in a remote antiquity.
Mohammedanism is also established in China, as is many another less known creed.”
That Freemasonry, as we know it, may not be discovered in China, has been quite
conclusively shown by such a work as “Freemasonry in China,” by Herbert A. Giles, but
as a manifestation of the life of the Spirit as Brother Giles well indicates, it no doubt has
revealed itself there. “The Masonry, not of form and ceremonies, but of the heart.”
We were not at all amazed to find their manner of living almost antipodal to ours. James
Freeman Clark, in his work on “The Ten Great Religions,” illustrating this oppositional
view, describes China and the Chinese in the following manner:
“The first aspect of China produces that impression on the mind which we call the
grotesque. This is merely because the customs of this singular nation are so opposite to our
own. They seem morally, no less than physically, our antipodes. We stand feet to feet in
everything. In boxing the compass they say 'westnorth' instead of northwest, 'eastsouth'
instead of southeast, and their compass-needle points south instead of north.”
Referring to customs prior to the days of the Republic with its revolution, the same writer
“Their soldiers wear quilted petticoats, satin boots, and bead necklaces, carry umbrellas
and fans, and go to a night attack with lanterns in their hands, being more afraid of the
dark than of exposing themselves to the enemy. The people are fond of fireworks, but
prefer to have them in the day time. Ladies ride in wheelbarrows, and cows are driven in
carriages. In China the family name comes first, and the personal name afterward. Instead
of saying Benjamin Franklin or Walter Scott they would say Franklin Benjamin and Scott
Walter. In getting on a horse, the Chinese mount on the right side. Their old men fly kites,
while the little boys look on. The left hand is the seat of honor, and to keep on your hat is a
sign of respect. Visiting cards are painted red, and are four feet long. In the opinion of the
Chinese, the seat of understanding is the stomach.”
We remember in connection with this that in our reading of a book under the caption,
“Brain and Personality,” by Dr. W. Hanna Thompson - a book by the way which indicates
a logical ground for the belief in the Immortality of the Soul, from a physical basis - that
the stomach was quoted as but one of the many localities of the body that had been cited
by the ancients as the seat of the soul. In our judgment, as well the stomach, as the heart,
or any other organ for that matter.
Of course, this lecture of Dr. Clark's was delivered many years ago, and since then the
general revolution has transformed things not a little. But a people - accurately so
described for the time that the lecture was written, and who had been following the same
practices and observing the same customs and habits for thousands of years - will retain
for yet some time to come, many of the characteristics suggested here.
We noted in connection with the general customs which have prevailed since the time of
Confucius, that in the matter of those holding public offices, it was required that they be
able to pass certain literary tests. In brief, the literary man held the public office.
To this end, as far as their political and social life was concerned, it was fundamentally
necessary that aspirants for position of responsibility should be thoroughly versed in the
law that guaranteed unto them their constitutional well-being. The maxims, codes and
laws, as promulgated and inteipreted by Confucius, was the basic for the Chinese to live
and be governed by.
In view of this let us for the moment indulge in some comparative reflections. In these
United States there are certain documents of fundamental importance that, we believe,
alone guarantee for us the maximum degree of life and liberty and the pursuit of
happiness. The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, certain
inaugural addresses - those articles that bespeak the soul of America, its aspirations, its
conservatism and its glory, should be known by all aspirants to public office, and not only
known, but their life and conduct should square with them, and no one should be suffered
to be a recipient of any gift within the power of the American people, who would not
heartily endorse and subscribe and pledge his maintenance; neither should anyone of
whom the slightest suspicion might be held be suffered to enter office, that he would
despoil the puipose or mar the beauty and moral value by any alien innovation.
The laws of the fathers was, and is, a cardinal virtue in Chinese character. That the laws of
the fathers in China had their limitations, China's backward condition is the most forcible
Happily the documents so sacred to all Americans worthy of the name, in no wise are
conducive to stagnation or inhibitive to progress, but the experience of men, since the
beginning of government, is epitomized for us by them, and liberty and freedom and every
guarantee that will permit of rightful initiative conducive to human happiness, is assured
A re-reading of the Constitution and of these documents ought to be obligatory upon every
office holder. Nay, more ! Upon every American able to read, so that in these trying times
the proper perspective might again be obtained, which would reveal to us the folly of
departure from the wise course enjoined upon us by the founders of the Republic.
Let them read, mark, and inwardly digest the following:
“Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed
for light and transient causes.”
We confess that, to us, there is something fascinating about men of erudition occupying
positions of power. It seems to restrain us from continuation of the practice of giving unto
men public office on the strength of their popularity, as we are so wont to do in America.
* * *
We are in receipt of a book published by the Flame Press, New York City, under the
caption of “Rosicrucian Fundamentals.” We are informed it is published under the
authority of the High Council of the Societas Rosicmciana in America.
That it is a book of profundity and scholarship, any who may chance to read it will soon
discover. Quoting from a letter received in connection with the book we may read as
“The contents will speak for themselves and need no explanation: But for the benefit of
those who are unacquainted with the work of the Societas Rosicmciana in America, of
which organization this book is the initial text book, I deem it but proper to state that all
who join Colleges of this Order are placed in the Neophyte's Degree, which is preliminary
and probationary in its nature. During their stay in this Degree their work is a full and
complete study of this book, and their passing to the next Degree, which is that of Zelator,
is contingent both on their percentage of attendance on the Convocations of the College
and on their passing a satisfactory examination on the contents of this book of
Fundamentals. Thus you will see how necessary is a Proficiency in the Preceding Degree.”
We are glad to give our readers this introductory note to this text-book of the Rosicmcian
* * *
Sir Edward Gray is no mean successor of Isaac Walton as an Angler Philosopher. We feel
that it is not out of season to draw attention to his volume on “Fly Fishing,” from the pen
of the famous British statesman. His philosophic observations in the introduction are
highly pertinent and may serve in their quiet way to influence those fishermen who are
prone to fish for numbers, to a more humane view of the sport itself.
We cannot help but quote from the introductory chapter what Sir Edward Gray has to say
about the explaining of one's pleasures to another. “It would be delightful,” says he, “to
write about pleasures, if by doing so, one could impart them to others.” "Nothing is more
difficult,” he continues, “than to convey any strong impression of pleasure which has been
felt within us.”
He indicates that interest is the ground for mutual sympathy in the discussion of any sport.
His reflections continue, “When a man has a hobby, it is to be hoped that he will leam
reticence, that he will never go into the world at large, resolved not to talk what he cares
We leam in a later chapter that of the famous schools of England, Winchester was
probably the only school at which the most scientific and highly developed form of
angling could be learned. It is a treat to accompany Sir Edward Gray in his musings as he
learnedly discusses the intricacies and enjoyments of Fly Fishing.
The book, we note, was published by an English firm, J. M. Dent & Co.
THE QUESTION BOX
THE BUILDER is an open forum for free and fraternal discussion. Each of its contributors
writes under his own name, and is responsible for his own opinions. Believing that a unity
of spirit is better than a uniformity of opinion, the Research Society, as such, does not
champion any one school of Masonic thought as over against another, but offers to all
alike a medium for fellowship and instruction, leaving each to stand or fall by its own
The Question Box and Correspondence Column are open to all members of the Society at
all times. Questions of any nature on Masonic subjects are earnestly invited from our
members, particularly those connected with lodges or study clubs which are following our
“Bulletin Course of Masonic Study.” When requested, questions will be answered
promptly by mail before publication in this department.
GEORGE BUSBY CHRISTIAN, JR., SECRETARY TO PRESIDENT-ELECT
In my travels throughout the State I have been asked numerous times for information
concerning Mr. Christian, Secretary to President-elect Harding. Can you tell me whether
or not he is a Mason ? F. W. DeK., Connecticut.
George Busby Christian, Jr., is a member in good standing of Marion Lodge No. 70, F. &
A. M.; Marion Chapter No. 62, R. A. M.; Marion Council No. 22, R. & S. M., and Marion
Commandery No. 36, K. T., all located in Marion, Ohio. He is also a membel of Aladdin
Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S., of Columbus, Ohio.
He and his people are Presbyterians and his wife is a member of St. Paul's Episcopal
Church, Marion, Ohio.
* * *
SCRIPTURAL PASSAGES IN THE SEVERAL DEGREES
Where should the Holy Bible be opened in the Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and
Master Mason degrees ?
F. A. G., Connecticut.
Entered Apprentice degree - Psalms, chapter 133, verses 1-3.
Fellow Craft degree - Amos, chapter 7, verses 7-8.
Master Mason degree - Ecclesiastes, chapter 12, verses 1-7.
* * *
Whence was the “Parian” marble said to have been used in the columns of Solomon's
C. O. N., California.
Parian marble was, and still is, obtained from Paros (or Paro), an island in the Aegean Sea,
one of the largest groups of the Cyclades. It lies to the west of Naxos, from which it is
separated by a channel about six miles broad, and which it is nova grouped together, in
popular language, under the common name of Paronaxia.
The island is formed of a single mountain about 2,500 feet in height, sloping evenly down
on all sides to a maritime plain. The island is composed of marble, though gneiss and
mica-schist are to be found in a few places. The capital, Paroekia or Parikia (Italian,
Parechia), situated on a bay on the north-west side of the island, occupies the site of the
ancient capital Paros. Here on a rock beside the sea are the remains of a medieval castle
built almost entirely of ancient marble remains.
The island now belongs to the kingdom of Greece.
ASHES OF MASON BURIED AT SEA
More than two years ago, Robert Weems, who lived in the village of Hempstead, L. I., and
who was a member of Anglo-Saxon Lodge No. 137, F. & A. M., of Brooklyn, N. Y., died,
leaving a will in which he directed that his body be cremated and the ashes scattered either
to the winds, or upon the surface of the ocean.
On November 7th, 1920, the Master of Anglo-Saxon lodge, Brother Henry Turner,
accompanied by Arthur H. Meyers, Charles H. Engstrom and Howard Brood, Past
Masters, boarded the yacht of D. Baldwin Sanneman at Jones Inlet and put out to sea,
carrying the ashes of their dead brother with them.
A heavy sea was running, but late in the afternoon, when out beyond the line of the
breakers, and while the cold, fitful wind blew the rain into the faces of the party, the
Master of the lodge lowered Brother Deems' ashes overboard, reciting the Masonic funeral
services for committal to the sea.
A. J. Audett, New York.
* * *
FIVE SONS RAISED BY FATHERS
At a recent meeting of Trimble Lodge No. 1 17, of Camden, N. J., five fathers each raised
a son. The youngest of the candidates was twenty-one on the night his petition was
presented to the lodge. The names of the fathers and sons follow:
Chas W. Garman
Wm. M. Kennedy
Geo. W. Johnston
Harry C. Knisell
Franklin S. Garman
Wm. R. Kennedy
Harry P. Kn isell
Forty- three fathers and fifty-eight sons (including the candidates) were in attendance at
the meeting, which was designated as “Fathers' and Sons' Night.”
Several addresses were delivered at the meeting, the principal speaker being M.’. W.\
Brother Cooper H. Prickitt, Grand Master of Masons in New Jersey.
It is believed that this is the first occurrence of the kind in the history of Masonry in the
Arthur P. Johnson, New Jersey.
* * *
ADDRESS AT THE RAISING OF A SOLDIER
I now have a pleasant duty to perform, which is not particularly a part of this degree, but
concerns you personally.
Parents are always pleased when their boy becomes a member of the Masonic Order for
they realize that it encircles him with many influences which must of necessity have a
tendency to sustain him in a clean and moral character.
They know that he comes into contact with as fine a body of men as society affords, and
that the environment will have a strong influence to hold him in the path of rectitude.
They understand that Masonry's teachings are ennobling, its ideals lofty; that it restrains
the baser qualities of human nature; that it is uplifting and tends to place a man upon a
high plane of activity where he may rapturously enjoy a life replete with words of
cheerfulness, deeds of greatness and kindness, thus preparing him to become a greater
force for the upbuilding of the community in which he may reside.
My brother, it is with both pleasure and pride that we have conferred upon you this
evening the Sublime Degree of Master Mason; upon you, who went three thousand miles
from home to battle for the rights of the people against the greedy, unscrupulous,
murderous Emperor of Prussia who was determined to conquer and enslave the world.
You should be proud of the fact that you aided in maintaining the freedom and
independence of France - that country which so generously and unselfishly aided and
assisted our forefathers in winning our independence more than one hundred years ago,
and the country where democracy first blossomed and bore fruition in Europe. France,
where that holy trinity of Liberty, Fraternity and Equality hurled emperors, princes and
nobles from their despotic thrones and placed the wreath of nobility upon the brows of all
honest men, though to accomplish this end her soil had many times to be drenched with
the blood of her patriotic sons. France, the land where the great and illustrious Napoleon
rose, flourished and fell. We now feel that our debt to that country has been paid in full,
and that you, in offering your life as a sacrifice on the altars of that country at Verdun, the
Marne, and in Flanders fields, assisted in delivering a clean balance sheet, and fortunately
for yourself and your fliends, you have returned unharmed. We congratulate you.
My brother, we all are interested in you and your welfare, but yonder sit two brothers who
are more interested than we; they have watched your progress through the several degrees
and now have smiles of satisfaction on their faces as they behold you having been raised to
the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason.
But, my young brother, in a pleasant home this evening there sits one who is more keenly,
more vitally interested in you and your future achievements than any other living person.
Perhaps she is wondering at this moment if her boy has yet become a Master Mason, and
we might see her face lighted with a halo of joy as she whispers to herself, “My boy is
now entitled to wear the insignia of that noble Order,” and it is for her, your mother, that I
am addressing these few words to you.
I am told that you are very fond of your mother; that you anticipate her every wish and
administer to her every want. I am glad to know this, for in such a young man there are the
elements and qualities that go to the making of a good and worthy Mason.
You may have now, or may win in the future, the esteem and affection of the noblest of
womankind, but she can never bestow upon you the undying love and devotion of your
mother. Often the wife flings a man from her as she would a reptile, when he becomes
guilty of abuse and neglect, but the mother, never. Even though he sink to the depths of
depravity and crime, she will not desert him; should he become so vile as to fill a felon's
cell, through her tears and sobs she tries to comfort and console him. And should he be so
unfortunate as to have the executioner's rope about his neck, her love is but stronger, her
confidence unshaken, her faith unfaltering - her trust does not waver, for she sees before
her but the innocent face of him to whom she has sung in happier hours sweet lullabies.
If a mother's love is undaunted in adversity, what must it be in prosperity? As you climb
round after round of success in business or profession, she is ever at your side to cheer you
on. And if, perchance, you reach the dizzy heights of fame and glory, and receive the
plaudits of your fellow men, she is happier than you as she entwines around your heart the
holy trinity of love, unselfishness and purity.
And now, my brother, on behalf of her whom you love, and who loves you, I present to
you this beautiful emblem. Take it and wear it throughout a life unstained and unsullied by
any ignoble deed but devoted to the principles of our Order. If ever during your travels
from the home fireside you are tempted to step aside from the path of virtue, look upon
this emblem and remember her who gave it to you. Let it be your guiding star through life,
and a shield from temptation. If you do this, when at last you shall have reached the end of
life's uneven, weary journey and are about to cross to the shores of eternity, the lights will
P. O. Hopkins, Ohio.
* * *
W. H. UPTON’S “NEGRO MASONRY”
Numerous requests for copies of William Henry Upton's “Negro Masonry” - or as it was
first known, “Light on a Dark Subject” - prompt me to inform the brethren through the
columns of THE BUILDER that this is readily accessible in the 1 899 Proceedings of the
Grand Lodge of Washington. In lieu of the customary correspondence report, Grand
Master Upton's request that his report on Negro Masonry be published was granted by the
Grand Lodge, and this report is the basis of the book which appeared later. The first
edition of this work was printed from the same plates used in preparing the 1 899
Proceedings. A second edition was issued by an eastern printer, and it is this edition that is
best known, as it was issued in larger quantities. I did not know of the original first edition
myself until I picked up an unbound and untrimmed copy a few years ago.
Brethren interested in the subject should carefully read the 1898, 1899 and 1900
Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Washington. A regrettable amount of
misunderstanding took place when the subject was first broached, and the fair-minded and
discriminating student should not confine himself to any one issue of these various
Students desiring to know more of Brother Upton should read the obituary prepared by
Past Grand Master John Arthur of this Grand Jurisdiction, which appeared in the 1907
Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Washington, page 287. Brother Arthur was at one time
a law partner of Brother Upton.
Jacob H. Tatsch, Librarian Spokane Masonic Library,
* * *
WOMEN NOT ADMITTED TO MEMBERSHIP BY THE GRAND LODGE OR
GRAND ORIENT OF FRANCE
“A newspaper story of September 28, dated from Paris, contains the information that
French Lodges at a convention voted to receive women into membership.” This paragraph
headed “Women Masons in Paris,” is printed in the monthly Masonic Bulletin (Cleveland)
for November, 1920. It had been given wide publicity in the newspapers as well as other
journals. Usually the reference is to the Grand Lodge of France.
A copy of the statement so widely circulated in this country was sent to the Grand Lodge
of France as well as to the Grand Orient. Both replied promptly. The former says under
date of November 9:
“We have received your favor of the 29th. We hasten to respond and would inform you
that the National Assembly of the Grand Lodge of France has not made any such formal
decision concerning the admission of women into Freemasonry, and consequently the
rumors now circulating, tending to create a belief that women are admitted to our lodges,
are absolutely devoid of foundation.”
The Grand Orient of France, under date of November 19, writes as follows:
“In reply to your communication of October 29, 1 have the favor of informing you that it is
incorrect that the admission of women into Freemasonry has been so voted. That question
is yet a matter for study.”
We American Freemasons cannot be too wary in accepting any statements coming from
France or other countries relative to the fraternity. There is now in France an
administration very friendly to many things favored by most Freemasons and therefore we
shall expect to encounter various attacks upon the good name of the French government as
well as upon French Masonry. Let the reader note for himself how little has appeared in
the public press of late to encourage a better relationship between us and the French. Then
if he also reflects on this one instance that the head of the present government of France
has been active in what over in Europe is called Masonic education, namely a centralized
control by government of all education whatsoever, he will soon grasp the fact that any
agency opposing that object in the United States is equally sure to fight it in France, and
one strong means to do this is to arouse international prejudice. We must be wary in
believing anything said about foreign Freemasonry and we may wisely be very cautious in
accepting information not received by us from undoubtedly reliable Masonic sources.
Meantime it is well to consider that the paragraph I am considering here has oft been
repeated an it is wholly false. How did it first get into print and why ? We may be sure that
for no good puipose was it given publicity.
Robert I. Clegg, Illinois.
NAMES OF PHILIPPINE LODGES
Bagongbuhay. Araw. Silanzanan.
Malinaw. Pin a gsabit an. Ralintawak.
Manila- Named after the city of Manila. Origin: May nilad, a Tagaglog phrase meaning
“place where the nilad plant is to be found.”
Cavite - From kawit, meaning “hook” in Tagalog.
Corregidor - Title of a Spanish magistrate and name of island at entrance of Manila Bay,
the “Gibraltar of the Philippines.”
Bagumbayan - In Tagalog, “New nation,” “New people,” “New Town.” Name of a place
near the Luneta where a number of Filipino Masons were shot by the Spanish Government
in 1 896, among them Dr. Jose Rizal.
Island - Name of lodge at Fort Mills, on Corregidor Island.
Biak-na-bato - In Tagalog, “Cleft Rock.” Name of the place where a treaty between the
Spanish Government and the Filipino Insurgents was signed in 1897.
Cosmos - The conception of Order and Harmony in Masonry.
Iioilo - From “ylog-ylog,” Visayan for “creek.” Name of a city.
Nilad - A plant. (See Manila.)
Walana - “That which has been lost.” (Tagalog.)
Dalisay - “Purity.” (Tagalog.)
Pilar - In Spanish, “Pillar.” This lodge was named after Marcelo H. del Pilar, an eminent
Filipino Mason, patriot, and writer.
Sinukuan - “The ruler or victor.” This is the Tagalog name of Mount Arayat.
Bagongbuhay - A Tagalog phrase meaning “New Life.”
Araw - The Tagalog word for “Sun” or “Day.”
Silanganan - The Tagalog word for “East,” “Orient,” “Sunrise.”
Rizal (Lopez) - Named after Dr. Jose Rizal, the Filipino Mason, patriot, and author,
executed on the Luneta on Dec. 30, 1896, by instigation of the Friars.
Dapitan - Name of a place in Mindanao, meaning “Chalky land.” Here Rizal spent some
time in exile.
Solidaridad - Spanish for “Solidarity.”
Banahaw - Name of a mountain in Laguna Province, Luzon.
Milinaw - Tagalog for “Pure, clear, transparent.”
Pinagsabitan - Tagalog for “Place of the hanging.”
Balintawak - This is the place where the Insurrection of 1 896 against the Spanish
Government, was started.
Zapote - Name of a fruit tree (the “chico”) imported from Mexico. Lodge was named after
the Zapote river, near Bacoor, where several battles were fought in 1896 and 1899.
Mactan - Name of the Island near Cebu where Magellan, the discoverer of the Philippines,
Magdalo - Tagalog for “Deliverer.” This is the name which the Filipino revolutionaries
gave to the municipality of Kawit, Cavite.
Martires del 96 - Spanish for “Martyrs of '96.” Lodge so named in commemoration of the
Filipino patriots who fell in 1896.
Isarog - Name of a mountain in Camarines; means “the only beloved” (Isa sa irog.)
Linoln - Named after Abraham Lincoln.
Batangas - Name of a town and a province. In Tagalog “outrigger.”
La Regeneracium - Spanish for “Regeneration.”
Kalilayan - This is the ancient name of Tayabas province.
Bulusan - Name of a mountain in Sorsogon Province.
Maguindanaw - The old name of Mindanao.
Minerva - The Greek goddess of wisdom.
Mabini - Name of a famous Filipino patriot.
Noli Me Tangere - Latin for “Do not touch me.” This is the title of Rizal's famous novel.
Tayabas - Name of a town and province on Luzon.
Charleston - Named after the U. S. S. Charleston, which took the surrender of the Spanish
garrison of the island of Guam in 1898.
Mount Apo - Name of the highest mountain in Mindanao “Apo” means “Master,” “Chief,”
Malolos - Capital of Bulacan province. This town was the capital of the late Filipino
Makabugwas - Visayan for “Sunrise,” “East,” “Orient.”
Pampanga - Name of a province in Luzon.
Mount Mainam - ’’Fairmount.” (Fair mountain.)
Sarangani - The name of a high mountain on the Island of Mindanao. A place where the
swallow birds stay and deposit their nests, commonly known “Bird's Nest.”
Pintong-Bato - ’’Stone gate.”
Pangsinan - Name of a province on Luzon. Means “Salt place.”
Pinatubu - ’’That which was engendered or planted.”
APOSTROPHE TO A SKULL
BY BRO. GERALD A. NANC ARROW, INDIANA
O brain that once within this skull held sway;
Made hands to move, and voice to sing,
A heart to love, and soul to pray,
Attend in spirit and a message bring
Prom that unknown and mystic way.
Some magic word or potent thing,
To train my gaze on greatest need
Of service now and future meed.
O eyes which once from out these sockets saw
E'en nature's proud majestic march,
And seeing viewed the whole with awe;
Then passing, looked through evolution's arch
And tried to fathom nature's law:
O tell if poplar or if larch
Shall stand along my later way;
Shall point me high or low that day.
O speech that from this mouth did issue clear;
Voiced love and anger, faith and doubt;
That spoke in courage and in fear,
Renew thy speaking and to me give out,
In mortal tones that I may hear,
Some word to still my spirit's rout.
O let some line to me be said
To conquer my untrusting dread.